| Material Information
||Pinellas May also Oppose Water Tax in Wake of Hillsborough Opposition
||North America -- United States of America -- Florida
||Pinellas May also Oppose Water Tax in Wake of Hillsborough Opposition, Feb 27, 1976
||Box 10, Folder 2 ( SF Taxation, ad valorem tax referendum-SWFWMD-1976 - 1976 ), Item 54
||Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
fT*IPA T lME S 17- 0. 7
Pinellas may also oppose
in wake of Hillsborough
By BARRY FRIEDMAN
Times Staff Writer
Pinellas County commissioners said they
may follow the course of the Hillsborough
County commission and take a stand
4 against an upcoming constitutional amend-
ment on taxation for water districts.
Pinellas commission chairman Don
Jones asked his county legal staff to draw
up a resolution opposed to the proposed
amendment at a meeting yesterday be-
Stween the two county commissions.
Hillsborough commissioners voted unan-.
mously Wednesday to oppose the amend-
iment on the March 9 ballot that would
allow water management districts to levy a
one-mill tax. A mill represents $1 for every
$1, 0of asssesd property.
Jones said Tuesday the Pinellas commis-
sion should consider a resolution against the
amendment. However, a vote was delayed
until next Tuesday's commission meeting
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because two commissioners were absent.
The Hillsborough commission's vote met
with strong criticism from state Sen. Guy
.Spicola, D-Odessa. chairman of the senate
natural resources committee.
The commission was "playing right into
Pinellas and St. Petersburg's hands" he
Spicola said Pinellas County officials
want to see the amendment defeated so a
statewide water authority will be created.
Spicola also said the amendment would
reduce water district assessments from 1.3
mills to 1 mill. However. John T. Allen,
Pinellas' consulting attorney for water mat-
ters has said he believes the amendment
would actually allow taxes to increase to 2
Hillsborough County's position on the
amendment is consistent with past beci-
ions, attorney Clint Brown said at yester-
day's meeting between the two commis-
sions. Brown is consulting attorney to Hills.
borough County on water management.
D water tax.
Hillsborough County joined in a suit wi
Hernarddo County challenging the abilityf^ I
the Southwest Florida Water Management ?
District (SWFWMD) to levy taxes, he said7.-.
The suit challenged the water district's.
taxing authority based on a change in ;
Hillsborough Cunty residents will be:-
taxed without a referendum if the amend-
meat passes. Brown said. Residents of
Sarasota and Manatee Counties, two new
SWFWMD members, couldn't be taxed untfi
they approve the new taxes, he said,
Yesterday's meeting was called by le:
Pinellas County commission to disce :
statewide matters of Interest to both co"
Both Jones and Hillsborough commission
chairman Betty Castor said the two coan.
missions should cooperate more in matters
of common interest, despite disagreements.
SThe meeting was held at the Bay Harbor
Inn on the Courtney (ampbll Parkway
overlooking the HIllsborough County side
Old Tampa Bay. ... '
Pinellas, Hillsborough to map
attack on water board makeup
By PATRICK McMAHON
St. Petrsburg Timw Staff Write
TAMPA Pinellas and Hillsboraugh
counties, often the feuding opponents in
battles about wellfields.and water supplies,
politely agreed Thursday to map out an
attack on the makeup of the water board
that often has to resolve their feuds.
In a chummy meeting in Tampa, the Pi-
nellas and Hillsborough county commis-
sions asked their staffs to work together on
a joint proposal for restructuring the South-
west Florida Water Management District,
commonly called Swiftmud.
The nine-man Swiftmud board has one
member from Pinellas and one member
from Hillsborough on it, although the two
counties have about 63 per cent of the popu-
lation and 55 per cent of the tax base in the
AMONG THE measures discussed
were legislation that would add more mem-
bers to the Swiftmud board and provide
weighted votes for board members from
populated counties, and a lawsuit to test
whether the one-man, one-vote concept.
should apply to Swiftmud representation.
Water was item No. 1 on an agenda of
legislative proposals and other items that
the commission wanted to discuss jointly.
Although the commissions fought at a dis-
tance recently over a new wellfield for Pi-
nellas, there was not a hostile remark at the
It was left to Swiftmud board attorney
L M. "Buddy" Blain, who attended the
meeting, to even hint at the division be-
tween the commissions.
WHENEVER any highly controversial
water issue arises, Blain said, "Pinellas
says. 'If you do this you're going to kill
yourself'... while Hillsborough says, 'If you
don't do this you're going to kill yourself.' "
One of the reasons the Legislature has
not reformed the board is because of the
"big crunch" between the two largest popu-
lation areas over water.
Blain also took issue with opponents of
the proposed constitutional amendment
concerning water management taxes. He
said the amendment simply would return
the water districts to the taxing status be-
fore the 1968 Constitution so that they
could tax up to 1 mill for water manage-
ment purposes without a referendum (one
mill is equal to $1 per $1,000 of taxable
The Hillsborough commission has
opposed the amendment, and the Pinellas
commission will consider it Tuesday. The
election is March 9.
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