Title: Memo: Water Management Referendum
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 Material Information
Title: Memo: Water Management Referendum
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Memo: Water Management Referendum, Feb 4, 1976
General Note: Box 10, Folder 2 ( SF Taxation, ad valorem tax referendum-SWFWMD-1976 - 1976 ), Item 90
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00002138
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
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Full Text




COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION
416 Senate Office Building
Tallahassee, Florida 32304
904/488-1710

SENATOR GUY SPICOLA, CHAIRMAN
SENATOR RICHARD R. RENICK, VICE CHAIRMAN
SENATORS CHILDERS,DEEB,HENDERSON,
JOHNSTON, J. LANE. THOMAS, AI t i


FEB 6.1976

MEMORANDUM -
By---------


February 4, 1976


, mo, I


TO: Members, Florida Senate
Members, Florida House of Representatives

FROM: Senator Guy i ola, Chairman
Natural Retwes and Conservation Committee

RE: Water Management Referendum, March 9, 1976


I have attached a "Fact Sheet" we have prepared on the
forthcoming tax referendum relating to the funding of
water management districts.

Water is fast becoming one of the critical problems of
large portions of the state. Those areas which are not
facing water problems today can rest assured that, as
the state's population continues to grow, they will in
the future.

It is for this reason, then, that adequate and proper
funding of the five water management districts is impera-
tive. It is only with proper funding that the state will
be able to plan now to forestall problems in the future.

I solicit your active support of the proposed Constitu-
tional Amendment and hope the attached "Fact Sheet"
will be of help to you as you are asked to discuss this
issue with your constituents.


GWS:ljb
enc.


DEMPSEY 1. BARRON
President


ALAN TRASK
President Pro Tempore


JOE BROWN
Secretary


JOHN D. MELTON
Sergeant at Arms


. il I I










WATER MANAGEMENT FUNDING "FACT SHEET"

On March 9, 1976, the Florida voter will be asked to approve an

amendment to.the Florida Constitution authorizing an ad valorem tax to

finance the management and development of the State's vital water

resources.

In addition to the political issues which must be decided during

the presidential primary, the following proposed amendment will appear:



CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

ARTICLE VII, SECTION 9

"Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution authorizing

and limiting local taxes for water management purposes to not

more than one (1) mill."




Three important points must be remembered in relation to the amendment:

1. Passage does not mean automatic imposition of a one-mill tax

for water management. The Water Resources Act limits taxes for the

water management districts to no more than 0.3 mill. A higher tax must

have legislative approval.

2. For residents of Northwest Florida, the wording on the ballot

is misleading. SJR 1061, the legislation proposing the amendment, limits

the tax for Northwest Florida (from Leon County through Escambia County)

to 0.05 mill -- that is, five one-hundredths of a mill.

3. Failure of the amendment will not affect the pre-existing

taxing power of either the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control

District (FCD) or the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD),

assuming there are no boundary changes on December 31, 1976.


BACKGROUND

Florida has been in the water management business for years --

dating from 1949 when the FCD was established covering all or part of

18 counties in Southeastern Florida, and 1961 when the SWFWMD was

established including some 15 counties in the-west central part of the

state. Both districts have authority to levy taxes to support their

activities -- up to 1 mill for the FCD and 1.3 mills, overall, for

SWFWMD, including its basins.


t


I L I ,






"Fact She-t" Q V
page 2


In 1972 the Florida Legislature passed the very comprehensive

Water Resources Act, which divided the. state into -five water management

districts. '. The Legislature subsequently .rearbanged the boundaries of

the two older districts and created a sixth, interim, district until

such time as all tax and other financing measures were completed.' The

sixth district then would merge into- one or more of the other districts.

This was to have occurred in 1975.

Court rulings established, however, that major boundary changes

would effectively repeal the existing taxing authority of the FCD and

SWFWMD who, together, collect some $29 million in taxes annually. As

a result.: the, Legislature delayed the boundary changes until-December,

1976 and called for a statewide referendum on a Constitutional Amend-

ment authorizing all districts to levy taxes:to administer the Water

Resources Act. The referendum has been set for March 9, 1976, the

date of the Florida Presidential Primary.


THE PROBLEM

Proper water management no longer can be considered an academic

problem. Florida's rapidly growing population -- together with the

fact that the population is clustering in crowded coastal locations --

is placing severe demands upon the State's still-abundant, but ulti-

mately limited, water resources.

The two older districts (FCD and SWFWMD) have been capable of

dealing with vital water management programs because of their pre-existing

taxing authority. If the Water Resources Act is to be properly imple-

mented, it is necessary for the new districts to have the same capa-

bilities.

The newer districts Tst. Johns River, Suwannee River and North-

west Florida Water Management Districts) have been supported over the

past two years solely .by appropriation from the State General Revenue

Fund -- $500,000 each for the fir- t year and $400,000 each for the

second- (ucirent) year. In effect,, the entire Florida public has bedn

supporting, the- operations of these new districts-

While the FCD andSWFWMD also have received State Gene-ral Revenue

assistance; during these two interim years, the public within the bound-

aries of these districts has been paying what amounts to double Eaxation


I__








"Fact Sheet"
page 3


for water management -- the property taxes supporting water management

in their own areas.and the sales and other taxes whick make up the

State General Revehue Fund used to support the activities in the other

districts. (Sixty-five percent of the State's population lives in the

FCD-SWFWMD area, paying about 70 percent of the sales tax and the

majority of the other taxes in the state.)



IF THE REFERENDUM FAILS

The three new distriCts will continue to lack taxing power.

Alternate funding programs will have to be developed. Most likely of

these is an attempt to continue the present program of funding from the

State General Revenue Fund. South Florida residents would continue to

carry an inequitable burden of water management taxes -- a burden which

would increase over the years. Initial estimates indicate a 1976-77

requirement of between $4- and $6-million for the three districts.

Required boundary changes would have to be deferred once again --

otherwise the SWFWMD and the FCD would lose their present taking auth-

ority, and the state would have to pick up an additional $25- to $30-

million-a-year tab.

State assumption of funding responsibilities for water management

will result in the assertion of state authority over water management

as opposed to local control. The Whter Resources.Act provides for

delegation of permitting and regulatory activities to the water manage-

ment districts which.are led by.local residents. This provision is

unlikely to be fully implemented if the state -- through the Department

of Environmental Regulation in Tallahassee -- is forced to carry the

financial burden of the water management programs.

As an alternative, or supplement, to funding the programs through

the State General Revenue Fund, a system of water use fees might be

required. Staggered fees, based upon the amount of water used, could

be assessed against all persons who withdraw water from ground or sur-

face waters. This would be a difficult and expensive program to

administer.

In any case, funds would be limited. Water management programs --


I







"Fact Shppt" ,.
page 4

eqpeciagy in the newer districts -- would be sever.ey .Itaile d.
..The fragmented "teWporary" sixth district may-have to be retained

since it could not .e added either to:the FCD or the !A@ WMD withoutM,
affecting their existing taxing powers.- It too wuild require financial

support.
State assumption of funding responsibilities -- whether for the

three new districts, or for all five if the boundary changes are allowed

to go through -- will mean that critical water management problems.must
compete wJt_ a. A qthper st4ewajf@ pxobh .a f.or. .Bite4lg o i4a4J J-eag e ........

Fund dollars, incjyding7~,.million fpr maintenance of existing works
in .SWFWMD and FCD .:


IF THE REFERENDUM PASSES

,Control of water management programs and water resources develop-
ment will re ain 'et the 19oc lpyl,1-- and not in Tall4hasee q. :

Water resources problemss apd programs, wi.l o9. have _o coWete for

finde with other critical state program --. edcatto#Rr;orrectiooe.
health care, etc. --ji bncem~psive amounts of General Revenue Funds
will not be diverted to support water management actiyities,

Those personq,whp 9,t~ .p Rbegefit most from the pogramq, of water
management, districts wi4l bearthe costs of thei,.benef its .

-South Florida taxpayers no longer will be -sUpportin Northb, ori4a
programs -- in additionn to thgigawn tax7supported programs..,

The boundary changes which will divide the state into five, essen-
gially self-supBOtFng-and ydrolqgica .y -sou d,,Vater Management .pis-
tricts cap take .plage.

Because of the statutory limitatio onO taxjpg authority, each ,
water ,maagqent district would be _required to seek legislative approval
for pillage levies of more than 0.3 mills. .RegMests for ad.itpnl ..
village wi ensae detailed legiplatiyve-srVtiny of wat@r management
district operations and budgets.




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