1516 \Wilow Wil: Drive
TaIahasc, Florida 32303
October 27, P1975
The 1975 Florida Legislature adopted Comnittco Substitute
for Senate Joint Resolution 1061 (CS/So 1061) proposing a
constitutional amendment which would authorize the governing
boards of water management districts to levy ad valorem taxes
upon the assessed value of real estate and tangible personal
property in the district. By virtue of passage by a three-fourths
vote of the mrebership of each house, House Bill 2325 places the
proposed aendm.a ot on the Presidential Preference Primary ballot
Sin Mdrch, 1976. :
The proposed ae-ndment seeks to address a dile.ma created by
'the Florida Water Resources Act of 1972. The dilerma resulted
from a desire by the Legislature td dteate regional water uanagc-
me1t districts with uniforr authority in all areas of the state.
S.o such districts, with r.any of the powers contonplated in the
1972 apt, were already in existence. The Central andr Southern
Flo.ida Flood Control District had been established since 1949,
Sand the Southwest Florida Water Management District had been in
operation since 1961.' Both of these agencies were created by
special legislative act, and both were authorized by their
enabling legislation to levy ad valorem taxes. The State
C Constitution, as revised in 1968, contained throe provisions
pertiront to the current dile-.as
Article VI!, I l(a). prohibits ad valorom taxation
fcr state purposes.
Article VII, 9(b). provider. that special districts
(ruch as waeor .n-.ac-cnt districts) may only levy an ad
valor=c tax upon rcfcrcnd.1u approval of tie frcoholdoro
r t r
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residing iitida 'diuitrict. .
Article XII, S5 2 and 15, "grandfathered" all millageo
authorized on the effective date of the revision to be
continued "uhtil reduced'by law."
The authoritedilb ages levied In the two pre-1968 water
management districts produced in excess of $ 20,000,000 in 197..
The Legislature did not choose-to jeopardize that source of
revenuia yet it sought to create districts of similar power la
the balance of the state. The policy adopted by the Legislature
is expressed Ui'S 373.503(1), Florida- tatutess
.s.d .nn' tax 'at',i -
V. ruda unMeem rltln.- .* ,- ,
4 (llH is the finding oi-the Ilerature that. .
Th..e ptta new rculory and adlminuratliv fne-
, .- .' t ot .. .o. distlrets hitBn swmh rzed are of
S. nal beafit to the people of ihe state and
*"~ Ananced fr p onweral .
it is he findln of the.
WalIujo 1eflus limited e- '. '"
T UPN cam. M c Wnl '
Vslh ,uhment of penht appicallon fees
amehod of d alorem uasibN to finr.ce
S he .LegisLaturo u j to preero the taxing capabilities
of the two existing districts, while also providing another.source
of funding for the newly established districts. The concept Rta
been analogized to the Hinimua Foundation Programs for state
funding of local education and law enforcement efforts.
S The Legislature sought to assure that a minimal level of
water resource research and planning would be provided to every
area of the state, with the capability for local residents to
increase that level of funding if the need could be properly
established. This localized flexibility was further enhanced by
the original concept that fees to cover the costs of administration
of the various permit systems would be sot 'bY each board ht levels
Commensurate with local costs. .. .
While the Lgislature 'eoiorzed the need for data collection,
research, planning, and similar activities which are of benefit to
S all Floridians, and are not directly related to property values,
it did not feel that the residents of Northwest Florida, for
S example, derived any particular benefit from a drainage canal
system* constructed in Dade County.
The Legislature recognized that the electorate in a district
would not be inclined to vote to extend an ad valorem tax unless
the need were thoroughly understood, and did not wish to ieojerdize
the taxing authority of the existing. titjL while creating the
new districts. It therefore devised the policy set forth in 373.
503(1), Florida Statutes, to justify the expdhditure of general
revenue for functions which had, in alm& c ses,. b previously _~ -
funded by local ad valorem revenues. (
The impression should not be left that a state interest in "
water management is a new phenomenon. In 1907, the Governor and
most Bmeabers of the Cabinet were designated as the Governing Board
Sof the Evergla ts Drainage District. -In 1929, the same officers
were designated the head of the Okeechobee Flood Control District.
The territories and assets of those districts were ultimately
transferred to the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control
District, created in 1949. "
In the first 20 years of its opqrntiqns (1950-1970), the
Flood Control District received $62..03,461 in State General
Revenue Funds. These monies were matched with Federal Appropriations
of. 176,422,000, and revenues generated by Ad iVlorem taxation
amounting to $75,797,563. The history of the Southwest Florida
Water Management. District reflects a similar pattern of the
substantial coacitment of general revenue dollars to fund realizedd
construction projects. The 1975 Appropriations Act provides
$2,343,000 in general revenue funds to the Flood Control District
and $1,820,400 to the Southwest Florida Water Management District
for fixed capital outlay. In addition, all five districts will r
receive $400,000 each in general revenue funding for general
A cursory examination of this historical pattern could lead one
to conclude that the State only has a financial interest in water
mapager.ent activities when there is a matching effort to generate
local funding. This is not altogether a valid conclusion. On1o
the lessons learned in South Florida had been that prospective water
management, in the form of planning and regulation, is far less
expensive than remedial water manags.snt, in the form of public
works facilities. Another distinguishing characteristic of the old
and the new districts is their distinctive topography. The flatlands
of South Florida make it particularly susceptible to both flood and
drought, while the relief of the Up-er portions of the state allows
for tn construction of relatively small scale works to provide both
reservoirs and flood control structures.
Thus, the 1972 Legislature found that the financing of generall
regulatory and administrative functions," as well as the more traditional
supplemental funding of land acquisition and construction costs,
pro r e di ure of state funds. No attempt was mado to precisely
define "general r glatory and administrative functions," and none
should be now mad Administrative functions would surely include
! '" i u P ~4
data collection, research, and policy planning, i.e., development of
Sthe )tdr use plan, as well as personnel, budgeting, and similar'
functions. Regulatory functions would include promulgation of
regulations and the issuance and enforcement of permits issued
under such rules. LJLh A.
In general, "Water resources program iP particular benefit
to limited segments of the population" were envisioned as those )
activities directly associated with physical water management
Projectss" such as dams, canals, and other works designed to P
enhance the use of a water resource. Examples include navigable f
streaus channelization or other improVements to drainage works
rpigned to protect developments constructed in a natural flood
plain, or conversely, reservoirs constrhcted'to correct overdrainage
Obviously, there are wide areas ofidYetlp between these
L categories. For example,. at soim point in tihe "planning" toceess the
emphasis shifts from general policy to blueprints for a specific
project. There should not be an attempt'to precisely define either
of these categories. Maximum flexibility should be encouraged to
assure that essential functions can be funded by either state or
locate revenues. In some instances, state funding may be a desirable
supplement to a district program. In other instances, a district
board may wish to supplement a state-sponsored program with additional
local dollars, as the two older districts'have often done.
Under the present constitutional provisions, that flexibility may
be obtained by convincing a majority of the electors in a district
(or a basin within the district) of the need for local funding.
Unfortunately, the old adage that "You.don't miss the water 'til the
well runs dry," is an accurate characterization of public attitudes
regarding water management.
W ,' 1,
the 00% of Florida's present population which rosidec in the territory
presently subject to ad valorem taxation will (a) recognize the
benefit derived-from the works of the Flood Control and Water Manage-
ment Districtsi oa (ib recognize the inequities of double taxation
inherent in the present system. For either reason, the proponents
hope that the 800 will "grant" 'impo the *benefits" or "burdens"
of ad valorem taxation on the 20K resi in the three post-968,
That strategy was dealt a serious the insertion
language limiting the taxing power in Northwest Florida to 0.05 mill.
This means that a "yes" vote in central and south and southwest Florida
will assure that those residents win continue to pay up to 1.00 mill,
while their brethren in northwest Florida will have a constitutional
guarantee that --even if a majority of.northwest Floridians should ever
Aish to ipose a higher millage- property ,here w11 never be subject
to more than 1 nuisnee tal. 4 W Ave^f
The characterization "nuisance tax" delber Based on /
1974 property valuations in northwest Florida, a full 0.05 millage
assessment wouldgenerate approximately $250,000. The Northwest" "..
Florida Water Management District received a general revenue grant of
$500,000 for fiscal year 1974-75, and $400,000 for fiscal year 1975-74.
This level of funding is barely adequate to begin accumulating and
assessing the datnece say otho It AIly velop nt of a district-
wide water use pl.frpai plOimentaiTon of any of t r gulatory and permit-
ting systems authorized by Chapter 373i Florida Statutes, will require
supplemental funding such as permit aprpliOation fees. A little planning,
like a little learning, is a dangerous thing. If Northwest Florida is
not to "drink deep" at the PFrian Sprtng, it should tasto not tho nd
"u.aJJo. urau:-u.j;ts" )yi brli.:: by n (ju;Lter-imillion dollar budgt, to;-dlcpt Lile propuced rmcndtnment in llarchi. IniLlcad, reltr.sientatives.
A water Ia.anagueinit proUrar; for ai) tLc 5 Dt"J'tCoo).l' c 'o the dtr a 1 eodErlt. dJistricts ,afocted sltteoagencies, ai
I : ... .. ...7 "1 n $ .
a 1,11P w44 -tiaf i co r orient. ed .. n-=. a .
and ibydologlc cotilo exity funde at such a r l f waIr- c 0 d edbinat it or in a
hoax and a more nuisance to the tyyr tionsh4 eLiIctr'6 hiiet drossthe T ,ull',r, 6aC policy
Assuming, ; rrunclro, that there is a rational i sin for authorizing questions relbt ng to the financing of waLer management programs
Pn difficult to Spec i dkisArs the e itteo should addre s include:
a reduced rrillage cap for northwest Florida, it.remains difficult to Spccid t t L od a S ncde:
:' .l....... KO" V'To of rrty ta S ticn sis 'for 'f l nanrlno
rationalize the line chosen on ser- as ey twe -, .- .S pror. tax -tl- .i for f.ani
-- "' ." n. ., .
and 1.00 mill assoCsnent. The "lire between ranges two and thr'co eait" ". 'aana iont proramt There' i often a direct correlatl
.... .. ,,*, ...,- A .*, -- .. .... .. ,.. .
serves as the weor-n bounry of Jeffceron County from the Gulf of etweon the construcLion of a water management work, such as a dam
Mexico-Lo the Tallahassee Ba*te Line. NorLh of the Unise Linb, 'the .ni I ,f:'al., and' -bfi IS t to a pbrtitullir parcel of real estate. In
"p- .i. 4c,-- 'valore agia.. ens' all able'f iiacin
boundary meanders eastward, then follows the shoreline oz Laken ;.. ant
V he .-
Hiccosc'uee. Tne present s L eanserp boundary of the Rorthwoest '-. In olher'.instrances such a'h rai g "non-producti 'C ,
Florida WIater i.anago.-ent District recndors rtro approximately five to lands that land with the lowest-assessed valuation is the very
.. "t '. -. . r, ,. *-. _.,.: .' ., ... .. .. :
approxi-.ately twelve miles eastof the e two and three east line- Et (economtally) "benefited" by the drainage works financed
approx_--.tely twelve miles east-of thne rne two anl. i ;,r==-===. ,. '. ,, '
Unless the District beandary is rovisc tto follow a political ratho t t as o th a etnot tbnet r.n O .O -
than a .drologic oandary, tt r wnrs north astern ater anagcnt p tces, such planning and regulate er
- 'Loh and western Jefferson Cou. dub ect to 1.00 mill usage, benefit all affected per ns without regard to property ownership.
levy, while their naig.t.ors are s-.bject to only a 0.05 mill levy to Such functions should be financed either from a general revenue source
support the saa water iageret service or through a system of "user" or "benefit" fees.
support the sa water zr.-.age':ent services.
Although the pro;onants of CS/SJR 1061 urged that the question be -- The auoropriate role of. "User" or "Benefit" roes as a basis for
put to the voters in March, 1976, there is no provision specifying a financing after r nnnanemcnt Programs: The term "user fee" is emotionally
different effective date than that established by Article XI, 5 5(c), charged. Nonetheless, the time has cone for major water users, as Zwll
of the State Constitution. Thus, if ratiied in March. 1976, the as the individual doncAti users attached to a municipal water supply
amendment would take effect enarriny 4 11 Sinco tax assessments system, to pay a reasonable fee for the water they use. Tho cormitte S
are based on the evaluation on January 1. the governing boards would should address tile philosophical and practical problems of assessing
not be authorized to levy their village until the 1970 tax year. a reasonable price to the benefits derived through planning, regulation,
As the gist r n 1972 a proprt-baed ta and permitting: and to equitably distributing that cost.
neither the only a naosarily the most desirable method of -0-
,'' i 19I
^ .*s/ "' ^y i v v f ____ ___
today: The vital first step in determining who should bear the costs
of watEr manage-ent programs isIto determineothe full cost of those
programs. These costs include both the relatively obvious fiscal
costs associated with the location, acquisition', tbhtiaent and disposal
of water, and the less obvious "costs" associated with the allocation j
of the resource to one use versus an alternative use. This cost
analysis will require input from both physical scientist and olrce 1E4
econaaists. do) wc e *t
-- The statutory and/or constitutional roarwork neces eryo
"' inle-ent the reo.-.ended roc=rm: The two pro-1968 districts rely:on
special act pro.isio.s outlining the dttii o. the assoss.ent, collection
Si id Juse.f their property tax reve--.es. The general statutory provisions
'-to.tained in Pa:r V of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, have never been
used. Tese prosios rconfusin that apparently
no one .as noticed -- or cared ab-=t -- a ty.ographical error transposing 3
two lines of type ir. sb'sectic-s (6) and (7) of 373.563 The
trans.sltion occ-rred ".ewee-. the printing of the 1 63 and 1965
editions of the florida Statutes, and has remained ncorrected to date.
T.* co C.ittee shold offer draft legislation to I lement its reco.n-
n .letiona in tire for orderly consideration by th houses of the
Legislature at the 1976 and 1977 sessions. .
Hi A1Ad 4s. ~s
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' CS !fr SJ. :C"I-A. Joint resolution prop e ng ar amcnd-
c. -. :o Scc':o.-. ,A r:tc! ygV ha Stat Cor.nitution relatiiar
to iocal a-, v!z.:-c-i ttaxces.
S I: flco:vcd by the L,-islaturo of the State of Florida:
Sha-t the following amcr.dmcrt to Sectlon .3 of Artledl VII
S of the St:e Ccns:i.u'ioj. is hereby agr ed ,to and shall bto
S r..::d to to th rlectors.o this ni;nto i'o approval or reajc-
tIon t theo general election to La held In November 117Ct:
S'INANCE ANND TAXATION V,
SSCTiON 0. LogalTa ,
S(r.) Cour.:e3, shool l.at'fi t; knd munici;Halitiaa Olall, ar.J
ipc.;iJ d&:rlicts .,r.y, lho 'iulilI ied by laiw to levy ad vnlorem
tLzcs ar.J .ay bc'atuthori:Ced by gener-l Inw to levy other
t.a:cs. for their rcapcctivo-; purpps.s except adntvaladrct.itel ta
S or. ie.Lr.:pble perienal proilftly and ta sns prohibitlil this
... . .- ; . .. . .
(b) Ad v=!otcnta ie, ocHsve T'o taxrs lIvicd fo'.
pay-nr.. c; bnr.d and ttxea levied fir period not l*n .dr
Sthin to ayer.rm Htn nu:hlri:rd by vote of thl electoral who
ar.i la% ewnero o frrehnolis, therein nut whllly- cxrinipat froil
L% atlion, shnll not I, llev:id in excsrus of lit faili awini nilin:.:i
j .e.. the as cs.-:s.d value of real L':.tto arid tiati'ltlh pi rl;4in::1 l
p:rorrty: fcr all county purp'lni.l.l, tEn ianilli; foir I.ll Iulniciiplr.l
pur;o;.cs, ten m lii!.-; for uA claooil pirilpu:.s,. ( it s;ills; f.ir witi r
wr..r-s ll,,ent piIrpo en fo r ;the 7ior:hen:'i l par'i'n, o the at.;it
I ,ir.3 tj: ol Ms llne b(etIuejn rantics jtuo alnlld hrl'draalt, 0.0
r-.'!; for i.c:r wr.nIr;agrenrn pusr;,auce for the reimaini Iy prT-
''A of/ A. eae. 1.0 l*n. m:ll and far all otlhr np-ecial di..ric.i a
S" mi!tlau fu.ho:-ed by Inw nipproved by volt of tiller clc:our:r wlo
Sarc 'wr.C-r of.' .-li'!d CreiurC: nt w whilly texrmpL froml tax-
atioa. A cct;.ty furni:.lin; ipunicipal atrvlcas nliy, to ire ex-
tent s:th.cri:-:d by Ilw. levy lddituonal taxes within the limits
fined for mu nicipnl p:urpb~ln...
SBE IT FULP.' !!i RESOLVED th the following statement
S- CONSTI.TUTOR AMEN-DMENT ^
** ARTICLE VII, SECTION 0
S P.-opo ln. a" amendment to tho State Constitution "
S.lAl t.A'c .fo. r water an&ageLmnt PuJ
.Ot 37-6,01`01-An (.1 ( ilLS
By C5ogeltl e App prielltot
5I A bill to beo ntitled
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II IJ a 1
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II I I ,1"
s. ane 1*
4* ,',,. 22
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Ar. act relating to a Cplcia olici on to bo t.eld
ontho iaccoAd 'Tuzccy In M.rch l1974 pursuh't iso
'Sctloa. of Artitlel'x of th sit:to.'CCs-t-ii t3t
. v ."
-or tith approval othlreItion by th.o lclto(l Io
Ilorlda of a 3olr.t resolutiOn a*nOdir. di. tlton 9.
-Artiel Vii oithl State Coar.alttttiAc relating to
local ad valoroa uaxs:; proviag for, pgalici.tas
of r.tice and for procedatres/ rovidla an ti L
a Izt inackLr'liyif'it Leilatur of the cSta of Floritrl
Oectlin 1. Pursuant to Section 5 of Article XI o the
UtLLe Constitutlon, trio shall be a 'eciatll lectson o n she
a..nTra otuiamday in MarcW lf9 to Ni htld c.ocuirrr.t with the
PreIldiaot ltai r6feruL i'e -rIMaray tle"tlt o t"mit-.ch thire 64all1
.. ,-'*, ii. "i ..
ao. mutaitted ca tShe -lueetost'otl tl dt fr approval, tatrejes
tion iouse Jolnt siiolution n .T 'propta lg the mr.dla
of Section o of ArGtilo Vii of the SLate Coi.ltitbire to
cut.blish a limit on local taxes to be used for Wter vtea s
n-ont purpurr.. .
C action 2. Publlcation of Gilotice shall be IA aOranc
wilth ftaiipt Of Article XX of thi cltat Csitttliutloe. T h
4l*t l fuldction shall be hold as olr.r s:.rlcll *leCtcs si or
l ,ul. ,',L
.Soctlon 3. Thil act shall ake effelict iupn bacealr.l
l;iw, i passedd by a throe-frurth vote of the sa.-scrthi; of
.. I w'
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I A ii -kia
'~ *.~" r a;1rtr. t '
IL a % r..LIP
S-Calls a special olectior. or 'ihe second Tuccday in March
201974 e/tho af.ptIr.vsl or rejetIatn oAf
'r.h sui datbilaiihaf94 a limatt On lcal taxa sto to used o8t wvtsee re*,e
ast i p w Op0.omes.
-. -m bouq U ..ienhsbir SM .nnaa. a.emuaM*fl*M***aues.sJ ****n*
xi ~~ ;O 'ax-m~~lr~ l~wrw ~ ~cW Uw
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