Title: We Need the Water
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002064/00001
 Material Information
Title: We Need the Water
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: St Petersburg Times
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: We Need the Water, March 6, 1976
General Note: Box 10, Folder 2 ( SF Taxation, ad valorem tax referendum-SWFWMD-1976 - 1976 ), Item 16
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00002064
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
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Vater managementamenament

fLes seek to create crisis: official


^70^





MMR 10 1976

lt I


By HELEN HUNTLEY
St. Petrnbur Timw Stff Wrt f
Opponents of the water manage-
ment constitutional amendment on
Tuesday's election ballot are trying to
create a water crisis, Derrill McAteer
said Friday.
"They have a desire to build their
own empires," said McAteer, chairman
of the Southwest Florida Water Man-
agement District, commonly known as
Swiftmud.
McATEER urged members of the
St. Petersburg Rotary Club to vote for
the amendment, saying it is extremely
important to residents of Pinellas
County.
The amendment would allow water
management districts throughout the
state to levy up to 1 mill ($1 per $1,000


of assessed property valuation) of
property tax. Pinellas residents al-
ready pay taxes to Swiftmud, but resi-
dents of most other areas of the state
do iot pay water management taxes.
McAteer said if the amendment is
defeated, Swiftmud probably will
retain its taxing power, but the
district's opponents would interpret-
the election as a vote against water
management.
"YOU NEED a water manage-
ment district," he said. "Maintenance
of an independent water management
district with taxing authority is vitally
important to the future of Pinellas
County and St. Petersburg."
Swiftmud regulates the pumping of
water from one county to another. Pi-
nellas residents depend, to a large'


MONDAY, MARCH 8, 1976



We need the water


Flori~a's water problems are a huge
contradiction. The state is cleansed by
billions of gallons of fresh pure rainwa-
ter every year. Florida almost floats on a
giant bubble of fresh water called the
Floridan aquifer. Yet officials of St. Pe-
tersburg and Pinellas County warned in
court testimony last week that water
demand might exceed supply this dry
season and. that pressures in fire mains
could fall below insurance minimums.

So it's clear that the water problem is
a question of managing the supply,
pumping from where it is to where it is
needed, and paying for it.
That exact question of managing
Florida's water resources is on
Tuesday's ballot in the form of a consti-
tutional amendment to authorize and
limit property taxes for five water man-
agement districts in the state.
NOW FOR another paradox: Ap-
proval of the amendment is threatened
in Pinellas County, where a water short-
age is predicted, by statements from
opponents which confuse the issue.
Water issues in Florida are so com-
plex that they naturally have produced a
variety of approaches to solutions. The
one with broadest public support is that
five regional water districts should
spearhead water management under the
watchful eye of the Legislature.
Following that idea, a Southern Flori-
da and a Southwest Florida water dis-
trict were created in 1949 and 1961, with
taxing power. In 1972 the state took a
long step toward statewide management
when the Legislature passed the Florida
Water Resources Act. It created three
new management districts, and changed


the boundaries of the old ones to con-
form with hydrologic formations.
The boundary change turned out to
be a mistake. A court said it was
unconstitutional. So the purpose of the
amendment on Tuesday's ballot is to cor-
rect that error.
Sen. Philip Lewis, chairman of the
Senate Natural Resources and Conserva-
tion Committee, says the amendment, if
approved, "will let us get on with the pro-
gram of protecting our state resources."
Some opponents want to use the
amendment as a club to force their own
pet projects, most of them worthy. Cer-
tainly it would be fine if the tactic could
solve any of the long list of water
problems. But it won't. Defeat of the
amendment will only make more diffi-
cult the Legislature's task of creating a
statewide structure for water planning
and management.
The amendment plainly is in trouble.
In three northern regions of the state,
where water management costs are now
paid by all the state's taxpayers, voters
are being asked to authorize a small ad-
ditional property tax.
IF PINELLAS voters oppose the
amendment they will be cutting off their
nose to spite their face. Not only is
sound water management essential to
the future of this county; the amend-
ment also would end a situation in which
they pay local taxes for water manage-
ment and state taxes for water manage-
ment in northern regions of the state.
Instead, Pinellas voters should sup-
port the amendment and then continue
to work hard to improve the quality and
fairness of the management in this re-
gion.


..... m 'lIb


---


ST. PETERSBURG TIMES W SATUtROAY MA6HR1?


extent, on water from wells outside the
county, which has led to conflicts with
residents of Hillsborough and Pasco
counties.
McAteer said opponents of the
amendment are "irresponsible" and
acting "for political and personal rea-
sons."
SEVERAL Pinellas legislators are
opposed to the amendment, as are
many conservationists, including the
Florida Audubon Society. Gov. Reubin
Askew and most other state officials
are in favor of it.
Most of those involved appear to
agree that there should be water man-
agement districts'and that the lines
forming the districts should be re-
drawn, but disagree over the amend-
ment.




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