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K.. THE WATER MANAGEMENT COIISTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
.. March 9, 1976
1949 Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District
(FCCD) was created.
''' 1961 -.-Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD).
was established..- Both the FCD and .the SWFWMD were given authority,
at'inception,-to levy ad valorem taxes as "special taxing districts."
'l 1968 Major revisions were made in the Florida Constitution.
No. longer could the legislature create special taxing districts
without"the favorable vote of those who would be subjected to the'tax.
i.s-didj.not affect the SWFWMD or the FCD.
ROy'' 1972 Florida Water Resources Act (Ch. 373) created five
water. management districts.(WMD's)--three new districts: Upper St.
Johns Rive.r WMD,"Northwest Florida WMD, and Suwanee River WMD; two
existing, but"with boundary'changes: SWFWMD, and South'Florida WMD
(cu rrnntly'FCD). ;'For the first time,'water management'boundaries
lwould'c conform 'to~hydrologic divisions rather than political lines.
Ch.~.373, wa sto be. ful .ly. implemented July: 1, :1.975. State- funds are
e ent'ly supporting the'three new WMD's. A ; 1 '
?,SI 1,8975 F- Hernando' County vs. SWFWMD (regarding status. of water
managementldistr.ct iaxing',authority after boundary .change). Circuit
C'ourt"dec'isio': n Newly"'added areas could not be taxed without '
referendum. "2) -Entire'"District would lose taxing authority if
original.boundaries'werelaltered. ',Decision is- currently being appealed
,toor.IdaSupre mei.Court. '.I.
ACTION OF"1975 LEGISLATURE:
1 -: 1).-, Postponed full implementation of Ch. 373 until December
2) Provided that a Constitutional Amendment be placed on the
March 9 Presidential Preference Primary ballot for
-- ---- -- -- CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT--------------------------
.. 'Article VII, Section 9
Proposing:an 'amendment to the State Constitution authorizing
andl im citing local taxeslfor water management purposes to not more than
o (.I) nmi -1 .'- '''' "m
PAS SAG E:
1) FCD will maintain its authority to tax up to
one (1) mill. (FCD Present levy: .375 of a mill.)
SWFWMD would lower its authorized millage cap from
1.3 of a mill to (1) mill.
S2) The legislature will have control over the maximum
taxing authority of the appointed WMD boards.
3) Boundary changes can take place this year.
4) The Water Resour es Act can be fully implemented.
', 5). Comprehensive la and water planning in Florida will
6) The legislature q n turn its thoughts to important
S water management policy decisions when the funding
question is settled.
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1). SWFWMD's and FCD's ability to levy ad valorem
S : taxes will.not be affected unless their Doundaries
,.' are changed.
2) .Substantial general revenue funds will be required
Sr for:'funding the npw WMDs.
.3) ..The legislature w4ill be faced with a financial burden
during a "short" budget year.
..4) ~. Confusion surrounding hydrologic WMD .boundaries vs. ,
po c apo.iti.cal boundaries,-will continue..,:. .
1/ during "sort Ibuget ewN
Sj1.:The following individuals have pledged to support the March 9
.WATER MANAGEMENT CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT:
'i ;GOVERNOR REUBIN-O'D. ASKEW -,-
SLIEUTENANT GOVERNOR J. H. "JIM" WILLIAMS
ATTORNEY GENERAL ROBERT L. SHEVIN
COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE DOYLE CONNER
& .. '. : ...'
SENATOR PHILI-P.D. "PHIL" LEWIS
SENATOR'D. ROBERT OB" GRAHAM
SSENATOR LEW BRANTLE
SENATOR GUY SPICOLA .
REPRESENTATIVE A. H. "GUS" CRAIG
REPRESENTATIVE W. E. "BILL" FULFORD
SRE ESENTATIVE QTOM EWIS
,H, NFDSO RO SSIONAL ENGINE
TRUDY BERNHARD, VIC -CHM.A LOXAHATCH
CONTROL DISTRICT -
GEORGE BROWN, CHM. T. JOHNS RIVER
ROBERT L. CLARK, JR., CHM. CENTRAL
FLORIDA FLOOD CONTR L DISTRICT
... DR. JOHN M. DE GROV DIR. JOINT CE
ONMENTAL AND URBAN PROBLEMS
EDWARD MEDARD, FOR ER CHM. SOUTHWEST
S j r;
'. ", .
EE ENVIRONMENTAL 7'
NTER FOR ENVIR-
T FLORIDA WATER
DERRILL MC ATEER, CHM. SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER
TOM RANKIN, PRESIDE T LYKES-PASCO, INC.
GEORGE RUPPELL, BANKER-ST. PETERSBURG & FORMER MEMBER
DEPARTMENT OF POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD
ALICE WAINWRIGHT, TROPICAL AUDUBON & MEMBER OF
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IV Forr L.. -"I1 4liardak Newt
;'-4 -tl 2" '-
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By DAVE BALLINGRUD .
Floridians who vote their presi-
dential preference in the March. 9
primary will also have an opportunm.
ty to end what some have called
"double' taxation",n mhe. southern ,,.
half of the state '" .'
A constitutional amendment "au
Ihorizing and limiting local taxes for
water management purposes to not t-
more than .mill wjil appear n
the ballot.'" .'."'
One effect of passage of th '
amendment would be that thelhre
most recently created water man-
agement districts in Florida tall in
the northern part of the slate) would
be able to tax residents of each rte
spective district for operating funds
rather than depending on the state's
general revenue fund for financinTg.'
The Central and Southern Florida
Flood Control District (FCDI is one
otwo water manaRgmen distrfts
currently with taxing authority.'".. '
Speaking at a special seminar yes- i
lerday in West Palm Beach. FCD
Board Chairman Dr. John DeGrdve
said passage of the amendment is
needed to prevent South Florida res .
dents from paying for the northern
districts' needs. -
The FCD may tax at a rate of one
mill. but in fact currently levies only
.375 mill. The FCD millage has been
reduced each of the last six years. -
The'other taxing water authority
is the Southwest Florida Water Man-
agement District The FCD and the
southwest district 'together encon-
pass Central Florida south through
the Keys. -
These two districts were given tax-
ing authority upon their inception--
the FCD in 1949. and the southwest
district in 161
But in IQ14. the legislature saidlo
more special taxing districts could be
created wilthnl favorable vote of
,those who would he taxed and:in
1972. under provisions of the Florida
Water Resources Act, three more
utater nmanagenleni districts were
Simply pil. the referendum to he
voled on March will give taxing
authority It the three northern walur
districts as currently enjoyed by Ibe
two southern districts
General revenue fund expen-
ditures will ni longer be needed.to
fund the northern districts, say The
backers iof the a.nicndnenit. They.say
the amendment provides for "lax
equity.':. '$ -
Speaking yesterday before reprc- -
serltatives of the League of Women
Voters from Broward, Dade and'
Palm Beach counties. FCD spokes-,
men emphasized that Ihe mili'e '
levied by the FCD would not changc'-"
But the St. Johns Water Mew- 1.
agement District. for example, will
need a "rock bottom minimum"..of
$I.5 million next year. DeGrove said,
"The state just doesn't have tlinAe .
kinds ofl fiscal resourceql9 hand,
Passage of the amendment iL
therefore necessary, he said, to make
certain sound, comprehensive plan-
nng for future water needs is per%;
formed throughout the state.
"Even if the state didn't have
money problems. I still would want
local control. I'm not enamored with
stale bureaucracy." DeGrove said.
SIf the amendment does not pass.
DeGrove said. the state will still ud -
ihe three'northern districts, but not
at the needed level. "And it's not fair
that we (Central and South Florida
residents) pay for it out of the gene
al fund." -
Donald Morgan, legislative lob,
bylst for the FCD. said it is highly
unlikely that the Iegislature would
grant the districts immediate author-
it) in tax at one mill. but would begin
at a much lower figure and perhaps ..
reach one mill at some time in the .
DeGrove and Morgan told the
League of Women Voters they have
not encountered any "organized" re-
sistance to the amendment from
either politicians or taxpayers.
There are objections. however,
and ironnlally they come from .at
least one other organization com-
mitted to conservation.
The Board of Directors of the Flor-
ida Audubon Society recently decided
nor tn support the amendment
het.ause they believe poor wording
fails to assure that the taxes would go
only for the water management dis-
The amendment says only that the
taxie are ,1i go f'or "water mari-
agemrenl purposes" ..
II is therefore conceivable, thi
board said in a statement, that t11
money could he earmarked not on'y
for the five water districts, but alsh
for "other special districts which
have some relation it the broadly
defined field" of water nliagecment
Also. "the Iegislature's decision
to divide the state arbitrarily into two,
,ireas with radically different mileage
caps poses significant questions 'f
equity." .he hoard said.
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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 the upcom-
ing primary election. The quality of one of our most important
resources is also riding on the March 9 ballot.
0' 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, sure a better future for all Florida.
. A vote in favor. of a proposed constitutional amendment to
Meeting that goal.
f": In essence, the proposed amendment will grant authority to
4'exitting water management districts to levy up to $1 per $1,000 in
S-,. property value to finance management projects. Here in Palm
/.'Beach County the Central and South Florida Flood Control Dis-
f trics is already levying about 38 cents per $1,000 and no change is
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.
tion, allowing the state to assume management responsibility.
That would mean a loss of local control and one more usurpation
of power by Tallahassee.,
expcpted..,;. Some objection has been raised over the proposed amend-
.. ment, including the charge that urban dwellers will bear an inor-
Should the proposed amendment fail, however, there's a good dinate amount of the taxing burden. The benefits derived by city
chance local management districts would lose the ability to func- dwellers from district resources do not support such criticism.
'iic "PaLm, Deachlin Lmes..
Pulihed daily except Saturday and Sunday'
... bh Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.
Cecil B -Kllev. Sr.. President Daniel J. Mahoney. Jr., Publisher :.- "
C. E. Neubauer, Editor EarlS. Dapp, Managing Editor
D- -. ,- '-,'.)-I
,kf~ .. ;. ...:', .
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W M Z-Z '.
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
hep provide i-Uonmimageiient of waitefrfesources 'MaMpisure -,
continued home rule.
Palm Beach County residents, as well as. all Floridians, are
urged to support the proposed amendment.
-r ~I ,nr
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- West Palm Beach, Florida Tuesday Afternoon, February 3. 1916 .,
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