WATER MANAGEMENT TAXES
by Governor Reubin Askew
On March 9, 1976-the date of the Florida
Presidential Preference Primary-Floridians
will vote on the constitutional amendment to
authorize and limit ad valorem taxes for water
Passage of this
amendment will en-.
able the State legisla-
ture to authorize
districts to levy up to
one mill tax on
property except in
where the legislators
in that area insisted
on a .05-mill limit
because they believe
that water and Governor Askew
growth problems are
not comparable to those in more populous and
faster-growing central and southern Florida.
The Central and Southern Florida Flood
Control District in 1949 and the Southwest
Florida Water Management District in 1961
were given authority for ad valorem taxation
by the legislature. Their projects and
operations are also supported by federal and
State general revenue funds.
The new water management districts for the
Northwest, St. Johns, and Suwannee areas do
not have this ad valorem taxing authority for
water management and can only receive it
through the vote of concerned Floridians.
Approval of this constitutional amendment
providing for local water management funds
will assure a continuing partnership between
the State and local governments in water
The day-to-day planning, management, and
regulatory decisions will be administered
Under the 1975 Environmental Reorganiza-
tion Act, granting of permits and other powers
are to be increasingly delegated by the new
Department of Environmental Regulation to
the water management districts to simplify and
decentralize services to Floridians. This
decentralization depends on adequate local
funding to help support the water districts.
The reorganization act provides for appeals to
the Governor and Cabinet in unresolved
conflicts over water use.
Sixty-five percent of the State's population.
lives in the two older water management
districts that have ad valorem taxes for water
The Southwest Florida District now levies a
maximum of 1.3 mills for water management
purposes. So passage of the amendment will
actually mean a reduction in the millage ceiling
from the present 1.3 mills down to one mill or
FLORIDA CONSERVATION NEWS FEBRUARY 197k
by Ed Joyce
Presently, the Central and Southern Florid
Flood Control District is taxing at .375 mills.
This constitutional amendment is vitally
important to implementation of Florida's
landmark Water Resources Act of 1972 which
divided the State into five water management
districts based on river basins and other
hydrological features, mandated a State water
plan, and provided generally for better water
A vote for the amendment will reflect
statewide concern for water resources and
management in Florida. It would send a
message to the legislature that Floridians want
sound water management.
I urge your support and vote for the water
amendment. Water is the most important
substance on earth. Life and growth are
impossible without it. Florida, its farms,
homes, and industries must have enough fresh
water if we are to continue to have the quality
of life that has made our State the envy of and
magnet for people all over the world.
Vast areas of the earth in the same latitudes
as Florida's are arid. We are blessed with an
abundant yearly rainfall but there are marked
seasonal and geographical differences in the
abundance of fresh water supplies.
Most of our rain comes in the summer but
most irrigation, tourism, and the resulting
demand for water occur in our dry winter.
Our population is concentrated in coastal
areas where salt water intrusion into our fresh
water aquifer is greatest.
We have had the tragic spectacles of deer
drowning and muck burning in the Everglades
because of too much water and too little water.
SFor the reasons above and our unparalleled
population growth, land and water manage-
ment have been hallmarks of my legislative and
administrative priorities, beginning with the
water management conference in September
There are those with the same commitments
to conservation of our natural resources who
oppose or would put off a vote for the water
management amendment. They seek a more
"perfect" instrument to get more local tax
funds from northwest Florida for water
management or prefer complete control and
funding from Tallahassee.
Of course, there are others who just object to
governmental efforts to manage growth and
our natural resources.
I sincerely believe that the constitutional
amendment proposed is needed now and that it
will give a local tax base and revenue to go with
State general revenue and any available federal
funds for a balanced state-local water
So again I urge your support and vote on
March 9 for the constitutional amendment.
Experiment Station Hall, completed in 1910,
was the first agricultural building at the
University of Florida. It is now called Newell
Hall, honoring Wilmon Newell, Agricultural
Experiment Station director, 1921-1943.
*** Eliot Wigginton and his Rabun
Gap-Nacoochee school students have done it
again. Three winners in a row. Perhaps I'm
prejudiced, or perhaps just overly fond of
knowing more about how our forefathers eked
out their livings, without the grocery stores,
drug stores and all the other conveniences that
we "can't live without". Either way, I find
Foxfire 3 to be a beautiful continuation of The
Foxfire Book and Foxfire 2. This issue covers
such topics as hide tanning, cattle raising,
animal care, banjos and dulcimers, gourds,
ginseng, and construction of lumber kilns,
smoke houses and butter churns. It also
contains reminiscences and stories from some
of the folks who have lived all their lives in the
mountains. It is an excellent and interesting
book, and I recommend it as highly as the
first two. My only fear is that the burgeoning
success of Foxfire may change the very area
and people which gave it birth. Mr. Wigginton
explains these problems in the 10 page
introduction and assures the Foxfire fans that
every effort is being made to prevent this.
Eliot, we wish you success, but this may be
even more difficult than getting Foxfire
started in the first place.
Available from Anchor Press/Doubleday,
Garden City, New York. Price: $4.95.
*** The song writer who said, "I know a little
bit about a lot of things, but I don't know
enough about you," could well have obtained
much of his information from the Fieldbook of
Natural History. Written by Dr. E. Laurence
Palmer and revised by Dr. H. Seymour Fowler,
it really covers a wide range of topics including
astronomy, geology, weather (meteorology)
and the major groups of plants and animals. It
avoids lengthy details in the belief that other
more specific references can provide those in
better fashion. This book is intended as a
general (non-technical) reference book for the
major aspects of natural history and it
succeeds in that task. Its major value rests in
the broadness of its coverage. I think it would
be an excellent book for a science oriented
teenager or even the layman who has occa-
sional need of natural history information.
However, the book's relatively high price of
$19.95 may tend to keep it off many people's
Available from McGraw-Hill Book Company
1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York
In 1917 live-at-home gardens were stressed
by the Florida Agricultural Extension Service.
That year Faith Robinson, St. Johns County,
was champion 4-H vegetable gardener. She
produced 5,072 pounds of vegetables on
one-tenth acre of land.
FLORIDA CONSERVATION NEWS