August 28, 1970
RE: SWFWMD Negotiations To Purchase Land
Our efforts toward successfully, and quickly, negotiating the
purchase of land for the Water Management District are pro-
gressing. But I believe we should have slightly more latitude
if this is to be a successful program.
I believe it would be better if the Board will adopt the follow-
1. The Chief of the Land Acquisition Department, with
the approval of the Attorney, would be authorized
to negotiate purchase of land for the value of the approved
appraisal plus an amount not to exceed the estimated minimum
attorneys' fee plus an amount not to exceed the estimated
2. The Chief of the Land Acquisition Department, to-
gether with the approval of the Attorney, would be
authorized to allow the landowner to remove specified improve-
ments from his property, even though they had been included in
the appraisal, provided they are removed in a timely fashion
and provided the amount of the anticipated salvage value would
be less than the anticipated benefit to the District by the
3. Any such negotiations as outlined above should be
documented by written statement to be submitted to
the Director, together with the request for funds.
4. There must be some easier way to obtain funds, once
a negotiation within the above framework, has been
completed. To give you some idea of the delay, let me give
you an illustration.
On August 20 Watson and I conferred with a property
owner. The approved appraisal was $24,900.00.
We believe we could settle this for $26,500.00, and
we believe this would be a very good settlement. The minimum
that the owner's attorney's fee would be $1445.00 if we filed
suit and a reasonable appraiser's fee would be $350.00. These
fixed costs added to the amount of the approved appraisal ex-
ceed the amount we feel this could be settled tor, and the amount
we feel would be a good settlement figure.
The earliest the check could be issued for this
amount would be October 14. It could not be presented to and
approved by the Hillsborough Basin Board until September 16
and presented to the next Governing Board Meeting on October 14.
Obviously, it is difficult to talk about cash to a
man when the final decision can't even be made for 2 months.
I recommend the Board adopt a policy which would
authorize the issuance of a check to the property owner and
the District Attorney, jointly, immediately upon request of
the Chief of the Land Acquisition Department, subject only
to the approval of the Director and the Chairman of the Board.
This latter approval need not be required if you feel it is all
right to eliminate it.
It should be pointed out to the Board that the lowest amount
a jury can award for property is the amount of our appraisal,
In addition to this, the judge will also grant attorneys' fees
and costs. If property owners cooperate with us in negotiating
sale of their land prior to filing suit we should be able to
give them some benefit for this. As it is, the only way they
can possibly realize less money by waiting until trial is if
the market should decline in the interim which would have to
be reflected by an updated appraisal. This seems highly