Panel urges Mhanges tor wai
An Associated Press Report / a 1994, including at least two in each water man-
TALLAHASSEE Gov. Lawton Chiles should agement district, the panel concluded lawmakers
should leave the districts largely intact.
have final say over the spending plans of Flori., shoud leave e di sot e i nstan ct.hy
day's five water management districts to make the I abused t eir oer Tee instans ty have
districts more accountable to the public, a review bused their power. There isn't any major
panel recommended Friday. ., 'usee said the commission chairman, former
e estate Sen. Phil Lewis of Wbt Palm Beach. "We
But the panel, created by legislators, did not "didn't go t6o easy on them."
go as far as some members wanted in trying to- d districts hre
rein in the tax and spending powers of these ombudsme pan did recodendt ahd businesses ap-
non-elected governmental bodies. m. b .udsme.toe reSide ad businesses a-
ply for water-We permits.
For instance, the panel reacted a proposal The commison now will send its report to
that would have forced water managers to get Chiles and lawmakers by Jan. 1,
lawmakers' approval to raise 'lcal taxes. McKay Said elected offer cals should have
"I think we will be dealing with that in the nore controtower thetdistrl which were givdn
Legislature," sgalc Sen. John McKay, R-Braden- the power 1976 referee to impose local
ton, a member'of the 21-member Water Manage- taxes for management t ppes.
ment District Review Commission. "'No without reprtent s very
McKay sponsored legislation that created.the real to theolpe I represent," he said.t'Nobody
panel.in 1994 after some residents and lawmak- that's eectld n the state of ,l .lda hasthe abill-
ers complained, that districts were arrogant and ty to approve or reject thositdgets."
bloated bureaucracies. The panel approved his 'dposal that Chiles
After monthly meetings 'since September be required to approve or disapprove each dis-
1 1 -
trict's budget. Districts didn't object to McKay
"Perhaps the new process will add credibili
to the water management district budget po-
cess," said Henry Dean, executive director of e"
St. Johns Water Management District. "The v-
ernor is the highest elected official in the s ."
But the panel defeated a proposal by r
member, state Rep. John Laurent, R- o to
require lawmakers' approval when dlstric
Also rejected was a proposal by Mc
cap their tax revenue from rising faster
The panel made dozens of detailed l
mnepdations on district operatlbns in I g
maAy Lewis said would better qoor dle e f
nht agencies' water management requ t
and better dovetail water and land m ent
The panel will Schedule one more. meeting,
probably in late January, to review ~ proposed
bills for the 1996 Legislature.