Title: Letter: Enclosed Articles
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 Material Information
Title: Letter: Enclosed Articles
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Letter: Enclosed Articles, March 3, 1976
General Note: Box 10, Folder 2 ( SF Taxation, ad valorem tax referendum-SWFWMD-1976 - 1976 ), Item 18
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00002066
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.

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JOHN S. KNIGHT, Editorial Chairman JAMES L. KNIGHT, Chairman 0
;LEE HILLS, Publisher ALVAH H. CHAPMAN, Jr., President DON SHOEMAKER, Editor BEVERLY R. CARTER, Gen. gr. Ar
'GEORGE BEEBE, Associate Publisher LARRY JINKS, Executive Editor JOHN 0. PENNEKAMP, Associate Editor C
RON MARTIN. Managing Editor .

6-A Friday, February 20, 1976

EDITORIALS


Water Problems Need Action


-- And Floridians Get the Call

Constitution which authorizes the levy-
* ing of property taxes for water manage-
ment will appear on the March 9 ballot. V
It limits the levy to one mill everywhere... YE
except in the Panhandle, where no more.
than 1-20 of a mill could be imposed. "'"-
This is not the best possible propos-
-al that the Legislature 6old have come The constitutional amendment
Se e which will be voted on statewide does
up with, but it is good enough, we be- not specify who would levy the proper-
lieve, to warrant the others' approval. It tax or water management or how
could signal the beginning of a compre- the money would be spent. The pre-
hesive, statewide attack on Florida'sy ou spe
muiping states m a nk rits sumption is that the funding would go
multiplying water problems and it to carry out the very good intentions of
would clear up se obstacles to effi- the A1972 water management act, which
meant distrie cts, natural watersheds. Delaying this divi-
In voting yes the people of South sion which wouldrequire a realign-
Florida and much of the rest of the ment of present water districts are
state have nothing to lose because they some funding problems which the
already arebeing taxed for water man- amendment would solve.
agement. In fact they would have a bit The state's conservation groups,
to gain if the amendment passes, be- which usually support Gov. Askew on
cause it would enable the untaxed parts his environmental proposals, are
of the state to raise their own funds for uneasy about the lack of specifics in the
water management instead of relying amendment. Some also question the
for support on the general fund, to equity of a lower tax ceiling for the
which all areas contribute. Panhandle, which was necessary to get
I:n Dade County, voters will find a the proposed amendment through the
second water funding proposal before Legislature.
them. It would allow the county to pur- But the amendment is being backed
sue the most economical means of by people of good faith and integrity
raising up to $97.5 million for a new who point out that a yes vote is needed
well field and transmission line. This to commit the state to a much-needed
would be achieved by backing the debt task. What authority now exists for
with a pledge to tax property, though it raising funds for water management
is not expectedat the tax ever would would be vulnerable vulnerable to court attack if
have to be levied. The bonds would be the amendment is defeated. A no vote,
paid off with revenue from water cus- argues the Governor's committee,
tomers, who will be facing increased would not praised would not preserve te status quo but
rates whether the proposition fails or would pat Florida in a backward direc-
passes. tion on water.
We recommend a YES vote on the We Iccommend a YES vote on the
proposal. .- amendnient.





K. -


& -.-~------ .- ______--.--.--- --.


THE TAMPA TRIBUNE
fP.w.m b t THE T1I t r r W%.Sa arkl. rn TL Mlp. ITa. xr s


James A. Clendinen
Chairman of the Editorial Board

Paul Hogan
managingg Editor


J. Stewart Bryen
Executir I'ice President

Richard F. Pittman
General Manager


Corf amef lt r -e c
T FRDeS A' teeDUR
S.-... Background

TAMPA, FLORIDA. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 29,1976'


a '-


N O PROPOSAL should be criti-
cized for doing what it won't
do or not doing what it was never
Intended to do and Floridians
'should regard the state constitu.
tional amendment on their Mlarch
I ballots in that light.


That amendment. if adopted.
i would authorize local taxes for
Water management purposes not to
exceed I mitf.
i The intent of the proposal is
i primarily to permit two major ex-
isting water control districts the
Southwest Florida Water Manage.
meant District in this area and the
Central and Southern Flood Con.
* trol District to the southeast to
retain taxing powers they already
have, and to grant the same powers
to three new districts.
It does not create new districts
which can increase taxes, as some
have charged. It does not give
some areas a "free ride" on other
taxpayers, as others contend. In
tact. one of its purposes is to end
such a free ride.

A BIT of history is necessary
to put the situation in focus.
The Southern district was
created in 1949. and the Southwest
district in 1961. Both have. by vote
of the people, property tax powers:
The Southern district up to I mill;
the Southwest. up to 1.3 mills.
The 192. Legislature. It the
landmark Water Resources Act.
created three new districts, so that
five cover the entire state, and
realigned the boundaries of the two
already existing.
The Florida Supreme Court.
however, ruled in a suit brought
by people in areas not previously
in the old districts that they could
not be taxed without a direct vote.
''6 "*fwW .-


The amendment to be voted upon
March 9 is expressly designed to
.remedy that: Approval of the
amendment will constitute that
vote.
If the amendment fails the two
old districts. will continue to
operate within their old.boundaries
and continue to tax on the old tax
authority they had authority
specifically extended to them when
the new Florida Constitution was
adopted in 1968.
But the new boundaries will not
be in effect. That will be detrimen-
tal to Florida's control of its water
resources, since the new bounda-
ries are more commensurate with
watersheds and aquifers than were
the old.


"I'' -"


It takes no mathematical
to figure this 65 per cent ol
dians will benefit monetal
passage of the amendment


8'


P. r

lriy b
I I. flat -


Moreover, the three new dis- suffer. In the case of th Southwest
tricts will still be in existence district. In which most of this area
but without local tax authority, lies, the tax power is actually cut
This means that if the entire state's from 1.3 mills to I mill.
water resources are to be properly The amendment has also been
controlled, these three districts attackedd on grounds that the
will have to continue to be support. members of the district boards are
ed as they are now by the granted tax powers which should
state's general revenue fund. be reserved to elected officials.


The effect of this is that the
65 per cent of Florida's people
living in the two old districts,
who pay 70 per cent of the state
taxes that support the general
revenue fund, will not only be
paying for water control nl their
districts but also paylag an esti-
mated $4 million to $6 million a
year to operate the other three
districts.


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THE APALACHICOLA RIVE
The Panhandle Does't Shar.

ii. '- -


Two points are german
The Southwest and Southe
trict boards have already
voted those powers by the
Moreover, the Water Rei
Act limits the districts' tax
to .3 mill unless a higher
is specifically set by the I
tlure.

ANOTHER criticism is t
Northwest Florida Water M
meant District, which extend
Leon County across the Pan
to the Alabama state line, is
ed the right to tax only .0
one-twentieth of that of th
districts. This, it is argi
discriminatory to the rest
state.
The argument is specious
other four districts do not I
tax the full I mill if they don
it. More important, the wati
nation in the Panhandle is
ferent from that of the rest
state that it is inconceivable
money will ever be nee
operate the Northwest distr


i" .... l The problem in peni
S' Florida today is water supl
Urban areas. What water
politan Florida uses is
drawn from wells, and to a
a extent from a few small riv
SIn the Panhandle, on the
.- wi


e here:
ro dis-
y been
people.
sources
powers
figure
.egisla-


hat the
anage-
Is from


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WATER CONTROL STRUCTURE. SNAKE CREEL. DADE
.. .ThePeniasula'sProblems


handle hand, in a distance of about 200
grant* milis, lie eight of Florida's major
5 mill. rivers: The Escambia, Blackwater,
e other Yellow. Choctawatchee. Econfina.
ted, is Apalachicola, Ochlockonee and St.
of the Marks.

s. The The average flow of these eight
have to rivers is 24 billion gallons a day,
*'t need far more than any projected need
r situ- for the entire state can envision.
so dif. For comparative purposes, this is
of the 60 times the average dally flow of
Such the Hilsborough River from which
led to Tampa draws its water; it is 24
rict. times the combined flow of Rain-
bow and Silver Springs.
nsular
ply for So the Panhandle water district
metro. doesn't need controls to solve its
mostly water supply problems; it does not
small h. ave, and never will have so long
ers. as adequate pollution controls are
other maintained, a supply problem.


What it may have a need for some-
time is more flood control.
*** .*..
SO FLORIDIANS. particularly
in this area, should go to the polls
March 9 fully aware that the
proposed amendment is not going
to increase their taxes (in some .
cases it will decrease them); it is I
not going to create new districts;
and it is not going to give the
Panhandle a free ride.
What it will do is validate the
more orderly and efficient solution
to one of Florida's most pressing
problems water supply estab.
listed by the 1972 Water Resources
Act, and to guarantee the fairest
means of tax support of that act,
So whatever others do. it is to
the great advantage of residents of
peninsular Florida to vote FOR lth
amendment on March 1.

}.. ...-.. -.;-, : .


Peninsular Problem-Solver


Editorial of The Tribune


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"VWater management.

THE IIILLSBOROUGH Coun- we are going to suffer from
.ty Commission's vote against water problems in other coun-
'.continuing power of the South- tics, and feel that if the local
.:west Florida Water Manage- district is lost the state.will take
*ment District to levy taxes to over this function.
.-support water regulation and
flood control may be somewhat There can be no doubt that
Zunderstandable in view of this we must have management of
year's financial crunch in all this vital resource. There can be
government agencies. no doubt there will be a cost for
: But looking back over the such a service. That cost is
-history of the district, and look. known as a tax. Taxes aren't
-lIng ahead to future problems, popular this year or in any
.we must wonder about the wis. other year.
S aom of this move. If the present water manage*
t There is some indication the ment district, which has spent
-commissioners were sold on op- more money in Hillsborough
position to the pending state ref- County than any other county in
:;i rendum with a view of estab- the district, goes out of exis-
"ishing a new water man- tence, control is going to pass
,:agement district; within Hills. to Tallahassee. If the commis.
Borough County, to replace the sioners are of the belief that the
.multi-county district now ad- most responsive level of govern.
n ministered by SWFWMD. ment is that farthest from the
: Frankly, we just don't think people, then their action this
Jhis is going to work. Water week was correct. But we don't
management problems flow feel this way and we hope they
acrosss political boundaries as will reconsider their opposition
.-freely as the wind. In the future to the referendum.



!nil Ia ,dmpa 4U tmta "
J. Stewart Bryn ...................... Executive Vice President
S Richard F. Pittmn .............. .Vice President & Generol Manogr
S Sam Stckney .........d................ Editorial Pog Editor
S ruC Witwer ........... a .... ......... Managing Editor
J '




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CHANNEL 13 WELCOMES COMMENTS ON THE EDITORIAL AND WILL CONSIDER REQUESTS IEUENE 8. DODDSO
FOR REPLY TIME FROM QUAUFIED SPOKESMEN FOR OTHER VIEWPOINTS. S' PRESMOENCT GAYLORD

AWTVT E0DTORIALE. M.
*j ut. NEWS ANo PUBLC AFFAIR S
WIVT. 3213 W. Kennedy Blvd.. P.O. Box 22013. Tampa. Fla. 33622/Tampa 8761313; St. Petersburg 596-1313 NS N w L SMITH
AN OFFICIAL EXPRESSION OF OPINION BY TELEVISION STATION WTVT NEws otECrTO
CYRIL G. SMITH
1IITORIAL RESEARCH
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 21 JANUARY 29, 1976


WATER TAX REFERENDUM


Some officials are saying the statewide water district referendum on the March
ballot is more important to Floridians than the Presidential primary. In many
.ways they are right. Unfortunately it's going to be a tough issue to explain
to the voters.

Basically it would give the state's water management districts constitutional
authority to levy up to one mill in property taxes. Actually two of the districts,
including the one covering the Bay area, already have the power to levy even more
than that, so it would actually mean a reduction here. In any case, the district
does not use all the taxing authority it already has. The reason a constitutional
amendment is needed is that district boundaries have been switched around, which
the courts say means they are new districts, requiring a new referendum.

The Florida Audubon Society, which strongly supports the work of the water districts,
is opposing the amendment on grounds it is faulty and should be delayed until
November to give the legislature a chance to rework it. Some of the flaws the
Society is concerned about are the result of necessary legislative compromise, and
probably wouldn't cone out much different the second time around, either. For
example, a much lower tax ceiling for the panhandle section, where water is
plentiful anyhow. Another criticism is that the amendment neither controls the
exact millage levy under the one-mill ceiling, nor assures that it will actually
be levied.

Well, the same could be said of the tax ceilings on cities, counties and school
boards. Constitutions are supposed to set limits and grant powers in broad terms,
not get into administrative and legislative detail. We think the districts will
be properly controlled by the legislature which created them. Which brings up
another point.

The Audubon people are concerned that the amendment grants the taxing power for
water management programs, not just for the water districts. They fear this power
could be used by other types of districts not as much concerned with conservation.
But, again, the water districts do not belong in the constitution. Who knows
what changes we will want to make to meet future situations? In any case, we
know of no guarantee that the water districts will always act in compliance with
the wishes of conservationists, either.

Channel 13 believes the voters of the Bay area can safely support this amendment,
knowing it will actually lower the taxing powers now given to the water management
district.


# #l I.# ## # # # J




I,,,~ Ii I


Is Bad Law


The constitutional amendment
*presently on the ballot to be voted on
-la the March 9 primary is a fine
example of poorly drawn
legislation; it is vague and am-
Sbiguous, and will not assuredly
F accomplish its stated purpose.
The reason for the amendment is
to change the wording of subsection
(b) of Section 9, Article VII of the
Florida constitution to read "for
water management purposes for the
northwest portion of the state lying
west of the line between ranges two
and three east, 0.05 mill for water
management purposes for the
remaining portion of the state, 1.0
mill and for all other special
districts amillage authorized by law
approved by vote of the electors..."
SEmphasized words are new.
;' The avowed purpose of the
amendment is to provide to the five
regional water management
districts authority to levy ad
valorem taxes.
The Central and Southern Florida
Flood Control District and the
SouthwesAELrida Water
Management District, -created
both by special acts of the
legislature, have had taxing
Authority from the outset.
The three new water management
districts created by the Water
Resources Act of 1972, do not have -
taxing authority but are financed
entirely from state general funds.
In addition to local ad valorem
taxes, the two original districts
receive some funds from the Florida
Water Resources Development
Account and some '. from
Federal funds. Projects receiving
S-Ja3al funds are funded 17 per cent
-with state funds and 83 per cent with
Federal funds.

There are opposing philosophies
About ad valorem taxes for water
management districts, One holds
that the districts should be funded
entirely with appropriations from
general funds of the state.
: Another holds that funding should be
in part, at least, from local ad
Svalorem taxes, based on the thinking
that users, or beneficiaries, should
pay.
Another aspect of the question of
taxing authority for the
Management districts is that, if the
districts are properly divided into
Ir.


/. ,s2vC


sub-districts, by river basins, a
greater element of local control will
exist.
The amendment on the March 9
ballot not only does not speak to
these matters, it does not specify
that the millages mentioned for
water management purposes are
intended solely for the five regional .
water management district&. The
wording. is general, and under this
amendment the millages can be
applied to any of thelarge number of
small, questionable, agencies
having to do with water
management in one way or another.
This is very dangerous.
The definite possibilities for
creation of' small water
management districts as provided
for in Chapters 298 and 313 Florida
Statutes, and the fact some already
exist, plus the potential dangers of
Chapter 582, which provides for soil
and water conservation districts,
make this danger manifest.
The philosophy that users and
beneficiaries should pay is explicit
in Florida law, thus, in a sense,
negating the opposing philosophy
that all funding should be from the
general funds of the state.
. very much wish the proposed
amendment had not been submitted
to the people for approval until the
elections in the fall. Were this true, it
would be "very easy for the
legislature to correct its mistakes in
the spring session, and to offer for
the people's consideration a
properly drafted amendments.
What will be the result of defeat of
this amendment at March 9 cannot
be foretold. If it is defeated, there
will still be time for the legislature to
act, and to place on the ballot in the
fall elections an amendment that is
not booby trapped with
vagueness and ambiguity.
Succeeding columns will speak
further to this matter.


V.


I



























SVoice


Of



Tnhe



E engineer


The Florida Engineering Society urges everyone to support the
proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution which would
create and provide revenue for operating water management
districts in the State.
The amendment, to be voted on during the March 9, 1976,
Presidential Primary, will authorize up to one mill (one dollar
for each $1,000 of property evaluation) levy in four of the five
reconstituted flood control districts.
A vote for this constitutional amendment will provide funding
for locally controlled water management. It will mean conserva-
tion of surface and ground waters, flood protection and soil
conservation, preservation of fish and wildlife resources, con-
struction of more public recreation areas, prevention of salt
water intrusion, and management of our water resources for the
general welfare of all Floridians.
With the rapidly expanding growth and industrial development
of Florida, concern for the protection and allocation of fresh
water resources is vitally important. Recognizing this, the Flori-
da Legislature passed the Water Resources Act of 1972 (Chapter
373. Florida Statutes), which broadened the responsibilities of
the two existing water management districts and established
three additional districts to cover the remaining areas of the
State.
Under Florida's new Constitution, effective in 1968, a referen-
dum is required to create any new special taxing districts. The
special taxing districts, such as the Southwest Florida Water
Management District and the Central and Southern Florida Flood
Control District (which were in existence when the Constitution
went into effect), were preserved. The Water Resources Act of
1972 called for a shift in boundaries of the existing districts.
The current legal opinion of this change is that SWFWMD and
CSFFCD would no longer be the same districts originally cre-
ated and therefore could not levy taxes without approval of the
voters. The referendum calls for a tax, not to exceed 1.0 mill, to
be levied in each district to provide facilities and services for that
district only. This would not represent an increase in millage for
those two existing districts.
Should the referendum fail, funds for maintaining all water
management districts will have to come from the general reve-
nue for distribution through the Department of Environmental
Regulation. DER would then control the total budget of each
management district, effectively removing local program control.
Recognizing the impact of this referendum not only on the
people of Florida in general, but specifically on those in the
engineering profession, the Florida Engineering Society en-
courages everyone to vote "yes" on March 9th.


S(YES


Let the Voice Of The Engineer
Be Heard! O NO
Vote "YES" on March 9th!


JOURNAL. FLORIDA ENGINEERING SOCIETY 0 FEBRUARY. 1976


U 1,i


_._I_._~ -_I--IXII^LIL ~-l-I~CI(--~I -I;_-.^:-; ;I;I_-ll-.L ~II_-L--)PIIWiiiiZiZL-l-^-L----- _._- ~-
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IAJAPAOIOA 33409

mIten Ntew
PM 95,000


NOV-18-75


/ Vote 'yes

Floridians who are watching
the March presidential prima-
ry take shape as a variety of
public figures declare their
candidacy should remember
that there will be other issues
.on that ballot, issues of great
importance that deserve care-
ful consideration.
SOne such measure is the
state constitutional amend-
ment to give property taxing
authority to the three new
Central and North Florida
water management districts
that the Legislature estab-
lished in 1972. South Florida's
.Flood Control District already
has taxing power, as does the
Southwest--Florida Water
Management District.
South Floridians should
support the amendment even
though it has little direct ef-
fect here. If the measure fails,
the FCD will simply continue
to carry its nresent dispronor-


'in March

tionate burden, and South Flo-
ridians will continue to be
taxed twice for water man-
agement once by the FCD
for local programs and once
by the Legislature to support
the other districts which can't
raise money on their own.
Nowhere in the state is the
need for sane water manage-
ment as evident as in South
Florida, where salt water has
intruded into Dade and the
Keys have lost their local
fresh water completely. The
mistakes were made here, and
the lessons learned here,
which prompted the Legisla-
ture to set up a statewide sys-
tem of water management dis-
tricts.
Supporting that system on
the March ballot won't cost


pade voters .ny money, but t


will be an invaluable contribu-


Lion to the future of ti


slate.


I en(r I I


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Water management


S REGRETTABLY, we are forced
S to agree with two state officials
who have forecast that the water
management referendum which
will be on the same ballot with the
presidential primary on-March,9
will probably be defeated because
of misunderstanding.
SSenators Phil Lewis, D-West
Palm Beach, and Robert Graham,
D-Miami, have forecast that the
referendum is going to have a
difficult time gaining voter ap-
proval simply because it contains
the word "tax."
Actually, no new tax is to be
imposed under the referendum.
Because of a court decision, the
taxing powers of the state's several
water management districts are
going to expire. Without financing
the districts will simply cease to
exist as effective agencies of gov-
ernment.
S .But make no mistake. The func-
tion of water management is vital


to the people of Florida and will
continue, and the taxpayers will
continue to pay for the service.
Undoubtedly the function will pass.
to a new bureaucracy in Tallahas-
see and regional offices will be set
up to administer the programs..
If you are a believer that the
best form of government is that


farthest from the people it serves.


then vote against continued sup-
port of the local water manage-
ment agencies through property
taxes on the March ballot.
We have not always supported
the water management boards in
all their actions. The burden of
water management in our growing
state is a difficult chore today and
will become more difficult in the
future.
But the present system offers
greater opportunity for local peo-
ple to be heard and a greater
opportunity for intelligent man-
agement of a vital resource.


J. Stewart Bryon ................ : Executive Vice President
Richard F. Pitman .....:........Vice President & General Manager
Sam Stickney .......................... Editorial Page Editor
Brce Witwer .......................... Managing Editor




I I A I li


^ The Brader :on Herald
401-13th Street, West, Bradenton, Florida 33505
S. Telephone (813) 748-0411
WILLIAM F. LaMEE
Publisher


MARTIN S. STEINBERG
Advertising Director


WAYNE H. POSTON
Managing Editor


RONNIE CARTER
Circulation Manager


8-4 Sunday, September 21, 1975


t,InQrAfiLY TtEk )VSUL4. 4Cs su'P1Op r (of. l' LsI
v" AT.POvTR.,l. f/,i m^ <,t, *_<> L


The vote on water


Floridians on March 9 will deter-
mine who controls their water, a
decision one legislator said is more
important than who should run for
President.
S"There is not one issue more
important to people than this issue
of March 9," Sen. Philip Lewis,
D-West Palm Beach, said of a
proposed constitutional amend-
.nent that will appear on the presi-
dential preference ballot.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THAT
amendment, the need for ground
rules for the use of water, is par-
ticularly apparent in Manatee
County.
The lack of clearly-defined water
control regulations is largely to
blame for the blind opposition to
progress in Manatee.
The current organization is this:
Manatee and Sarasota counties
form the Manasota Basin Board.
THE MANASOTA BASIN Board
is part of a temporary water
management district made up of
five basin board which are not
contiguous.
Because of the lack of taxing
powers and solid guidelines. the
district and basin board do not
have the proper facilities, staff and
authority to be as effective as it'
should.
If Florida voters approve the
constitutional amendment on the
presidential primary ballot next
March, many of the shortcomings
would be solved.


PASSAGE OF THE referendum
would give the water management
districts the financing necessary to
draw up their segments of a state
water-use plan, and to implement
the plans.
A rejection of the amendment
raises the spectre of unpleasant
alternatives:
Manatee County would be left
with ineffective means to assure
the wise use of water.
The authority to regulate
water would be established in
Tallahassee and Floridians would
lose local control over their water
supplies and usage.
A CHARGE ON ALL WATER
used in the State Bradenton
would be charged for water taken
from Ward Lake, Manatee County
for water from Lake Manatee, and
farmers and homeowners for water
pumped from wells.
These alternatives, as unplea-
sant as they may be, are real possi-
bilities, because water rights are
becoming increasingly important
to the state.
The State Legislature has
already established the state's
right to regulate all water beneath
the ground, on the surface and in
the atmosphere.
IT IS NOW UP to the voters to
decide the best way to control the
use of water.
The plan set forth in the proposed
constitutional amendment is the
best alternative.


I I




, i I 1,,II ,


7(,rnw
SD MP Rw s


JAll-25-76


IPossible Inequity, Tax Danger Flow


From Water Management Plan


A CONTROVERSIAL, confus- taxation, begins wit
.1g8. possibly inequitable and discrepancy:
potentially dangerous piece of management purpo
nation has emerged from northwest portion
. bs Tallahassee think tank as a lying west of the I
.teastitut onal amendment ranges two and thr
scheduled for referendum mill; for water
. M .arch purposes for the re
It provides for an ad valorem tions of the state, 1.
lax presumably to fund the Why the northwest
'atb's five water management is given a tax one tu
-districts established by the 1972 of the remainder
'Water Resources Act. and. more surprising
The proposed law, as it ap- Omitted from the b
pears on the primary ballot, is been explained.
Scocise and to the point. It seeks Next question. W
*"a amendment to the State radically lower .0
*Coastitution authorizing and district cut off just
limiting local taxes for water water management
.management to not more than boundary, as she
wae (1) mill." illustration?
SBut the amendment, as it Is *
written Into Article VII. Section WATER. ONCE
i. pertaining to finance and nuisance and chani


Shaded Area Shows Hier Tax Sver


h a startling sea, is now recognized as Flori-
"For water day's most vital resource. Al-
ses for the though it flows in abundance
of the state upon, across and under every
line between section of the state, its conserva-
ee east. 0.0 tion requirements differ in fit~
management areas.
mining por- The 1972 act recognized that
0 mill." water management can be more
st Panhandle efficiently accomplished on a
twentieth that local level. The districts were
of the state drawn according to land contour
g. why it was and water flow with each to be
allot has not authorized to levy a tax upon
passage of a local referendum.
rhy was the It is a reasonable assumption.
5 mill tax therefore, that any tax levied by
short of the a district should fpply to the
district entire district. Yet the proposed
wn in the amendment leaves a sliver of
the Northwest Water Manage.
* meat District in a potentially
considered a higher tax area.
neted out to o o *
S INDEED. THE aniendmeat
makes no mention of the five
IT. JOHNS districts or in any way indicates
RIVIE that the tax will be used for
their purposes. as amendment
MNASNEMNT sponsors are saying. Nor does
DISTRICT the amendment specify "local
taxes" as does the ballot.
Theoretically, then, voter
approval of the referendum
could, in fact. give the legisla-
ture the ability to authorize a
blanket tax of up to one mill on
the four peninsular districts and
.0S mill on the Panhandle for
purposes related to water
management but not neces-
sarily to its local conservation.
We have no objection to a tax
to protect and preserve Flori-
da's finite supply of fresh water
and believe taxation by districts
provides for fair distribution of
cost.
We are seriously concerned,
however, with a ballot that
omits a portion of the amend-
ment being voted on; with the
minor but unexplained tax
discrepancy in the northwest
district; and with the amend.
ment frameWr' failure to specify
that the assessment is not state-
S wide. but is to be levied accord-
Ing to "local" or district -
requirements as the ballot sug-
ests.
.E F ERENDUM proponents
claim a vote against the amend-
meat Is a vote against water
conservation.
SWe disagree. The referendum
Is confined to finance and tax.
ation. Residents in the Central
and Southern Florida Flood
Control District, which includes
Orlando, are like those in
other areas now being taxed
for water management and will
continue to be until the new
districts become funded.
The p r op osed amendment,
however, is too misleading to be
an acceptable funding tool. It
S.should be taken out of the March
primary, rewritten and submit-
ted to the voters in exact and
comprehensive lbrm at late
referendum. ,.


-- ~-------------


0)




It ,1. i i .. i. ..1J I. .. ... I


The Bradenton Herald
401-13th Street, West, Bradenton. Florida 33505
Telephone (813) 748-0411
WILLIAM F. LaMEE
Publisher


WAYNE H. POSTON
Managing Editor


RONNIE CARTER
Circulation Manager


MARTIN S.STEINBERG
Advertising Director


A-4- 54th Year No. 149 Tuesday, February 10, 1976

HERE'S OUR VIEW


Water vote important


Some officials are saying the
statewide water district referen-
dum on the March 9 ballot is more
important to Floridians than the
Presidential Primary.

IN MANY WAYS they are right.
Unfortunately, it's a tough issue to
explain to the voters.

Elsewhere on this page, we are
presenting pro and con views of the
issue as expressed by two State
Senators. They were brought to our
attention by Terry Montgomery,
agricultural agent with the
Manatee County Agriculture Ex-
tension Service.

BASICALLY THE BILL posed in
the referendum would give the
water management districts in
Florida the authority to levy up to
one mill in property taxes.
Actually, two of the districts, ex-
cluding the one covering Manatee
County, already have the power to
levy more taxes than that. And the
district does not use all the taxing
power it has.
THE REASON a constitutional
amendment is required, is because
district boundaries have been
changed and the courts have ruled
this means new districts which can'-
not be taxed unless it is approved
by referendum.


Opposition to the proposal, in-
cluding the Florida Audubon
Society which strongly supports the
work of water districts, argue that
it is faulty and should be delayed
until November to give the
Legislature a chance to rework it.
SOME OF THE FLAWS the op-
position is worried about is the
result of necessary legislation com-
promise and probably wouldn't
come out much different. For ex-
ample, the proposal provides for a
lower tax .ceiling in the panhandle
section of the state where water is
plentiful.

Another criticism is that the
amendment neither controls the
exact millage levy under the one-
mill ceiling, nor assures that it will
actually be levied.

THE SAME COULD be said of
the tax ceilings on cities, counties
and school boards. Constitutions
are supposed to set limits and grant
powers in broad terms, not get into
administrative and legislative
detail. We think the districts will be
properly controlled by the
Legislature which created them.
The voters of Manatee County
can safely support this amend-
ment, knowing that it will actually
lower the taxing powers now given
to the water management district.


I I


A .









A Times Editorial Endorsement


Ballot Proposal Will Provide Sound Water Management


The quality of federal leadership isn't the only issue Palm
Beach County residents will have a hand in deciding in theupcom-
ing primary election. The quality of one of our most important
resources is also riding on the March 9 ballot.

That resource is water, and the vital question the electorate
must answer is whether it is willing to insure adequate water
management to, in turn, insure a better future for all Florida.

A vote in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment to
provide water district taxing authority will go a long way toward
meeting that goal.
In essence,' the proposed amendment will grant authority to
existing water management districts to levy up to $1 per $1,000 in
property value to finance management projects. Here in Palm
Beach County the Central and South Florida Flood Control Dis-
trict is already levying about 38 cents per $1,000 and no change is
expected.
Should the proposed amendment fail, however, there's a good
chance local management districts would lose the ability to func-




The palim Beach TLmes
Published daily except Saturday and Sunday
by Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.


tion, allowing the state to assume management responsibility.
That would mean a loss of local control and one more usurpation
of power by Tallahassee.


Some objection has been raised over the proposed amend-
ment, including the charge that urban dwellers will bear an inor-
dinate amount of the taxing burden. The benefits derived by city
dwellers from district resources do not support such criticism.


The objection, that millage will be set by an appointive board is
also unjustified in light of the fact that under the amendment,
legislative control will protect against board abuses. Other minor
objections are similarly unwarranted considering the benefits the
amendment will provide.

While the amendment will not mean more taxes for Palm-
Beach County residents, it will mean a better use of those taxes
already being levied. Under the existing structure, some of the
money generated locally is being diverted to other water districts.
The amendment would insure that those funds collected locally
will stay in the Central and South Florida Flood Control District.

In short, Palm Beach County voters have nothing to lose and
everything to gain by supporting the amendment. Its passage will
help provide sound management of water resources and insure
continued home rule.

Palm Beach County residents, as well as all Floridians, are
urged to support the proposed amendment.


rCil R.Kelley. Sr.. President
C. E. Neubauer, Editor


Daniel J. Mahoney, Jr., Publisher
Earl S. Dapp, Managing Editor


West Palm Beach, Florida Tuesday Afternoon, February 3. 1976


In the March 9 primary election, Florida voters
will decide whether to give water management dis-
tricts the power to levy taxes for the purpose of
water management. The Times recommends voters
support this proposal.


....


I





I,_


The 'Bradenton Herald
401-13th Street, West, Bradenton, Florida 33505
Telephone (813) 748-0411
.. WILLIAM F.LaMEE
Publisher


MARTIN S. STEINBERG
Advertising Director


WAYNE H. POSTON
Managing Editor .


RONNIE CARTER
Circulation Manager


B-4 Sunday, September 21, 1975
P/Thllye rt)Uei. C(y SLPOn AThe voe .PofIT1.;on wo- s ater r

The vote on water


Floridians on March 9 will deter-
mine who controls their water, a
decision one legislator said is more
important than who should run for
President.
"There is not one issue more
important to people than this issue
of March 9," Sen. Philip Lewis,
D-West Palm Beach, said of a
proposed constitutional amend-
ment that will appear on the presi-
dential preference ballot.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THAT
amendment, the need for ground
rules for the use of water, is par-
ticularly apparent in Manatee
County.
The lack of clearly-defined water
control regulations is largely to
blame for the blind opposition to
progress in Manatee.
The current organization is this:
Manatee and Sarasota counties
form the Manasota Basin Board.
THE MANASOTA BASIN Board
is part of a temporary water
management district made up of
five basin board which are not
contiguous.
Because of the lack of taxing
powers and solid guidelines. the
district and basin board do not
have the proper facilities, staff and
authority to be as effective as it
should.
SIf Florida voters approve the
constitutional amendment on the
presidential primary ballot next
March, many of the shortcomings
would be solved.


PASSAGE OF THE referendum
would give the water management
districts the financing necessary to
draw up their segments of a state
water-use plan, and to implement
the plans.
A rejection of the amendment
raises the spectre of unpleasant
alternatives:
Manatee County would be left
with ineffective means to assure
the wise use of water.
The authority to regulate *
water would be established in
Tallahassee and Floridians would
lose local control over their water
supplies and usage.
A CHARGE ON ALL WATER
used in the State Bradenton
would be charged for water taken
from Ward Lake, Manatee County
for water from Lake Manatee, and
farmers and homeowners for water
pumped from wells.
These alternatives, as unplea-
sant as they may be, are real possi-
bilities, because water rights are
becoming increasingly important
to the state.
The State Legislature has
already established the state's
right to regulate all water beneath
the ground, on the surface and in
the atmosphere.
IT IS NOW UP to the voters to
decide the best way to control the
use of water.
The plan set forth in the proposed
constitutional anienment is .the
Best alternative.


a


A/P.


AMM&W,


31.:..,_ ... il_..__C-.




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