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This section discusses the legislative basis for establishing the West Coast Regional Water
Supply Authority (the Authority), the Authority's history, mission and vision, and the
legislative mandate that brought about this study.
The legislative basis for the establishment of the West Coast Regional Water Supply
Authority derives from Chapters 373 and 163, Part I of the Florida Statutes. Chapter 373
addresses the role and responsibilities of water management districts and regional water
supply authorities. Chapter 163, Part I focuses on the requirements of an interlocal agreement
similar to the one that created the Authority.
According to Chapter 373, regional water supply authorities may be created for the purpose of
developing, recovering, storing, and supplying water for county or municipal purposes. This
legislative mandate encompasses two potentially conflicting purposes. On the one hand, a
regional water supply authority is created to ensure the "availability of a dependable and
adequate water supply", and on the other hand it is to "reduce the environmental effects of
improper or excessive withdrawals of water from concentrated areas."
In addition to what the authority must do, the legislation indicates what a regional water
supply authority can do. These include the following:
* Levy ad valorem taxes, not to exceed one-half mill (with approval of the electors of each
county or municipality within the authority's jurisdiction)
* Acquire water and water rights
* Collect, treat, and recover wastewater
* Not engage in local distribution
* Exercise the power of eminent domain
* Issue revenue bonds
* Sue and be sued
* Borrow money
* Join with other public corporations in pursuit of its goals
The legislation further provides for the conveyance of land between members and the
authority, gives members preference over non-members for the right to purchase water,
protects prior water rights, and provides for adding new members to the Authority.
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The Authority's mission is to provide its members with adequate and reliable supplies of
high-quality water to meet present and future needs in an environmentally and economically
This mission is in accordance with Subsection 373.1962 of the Florida Statutes, which states
that the Authority can be created, "for the purpose of developing, storing and supplying water
for county or municipal purposes in such a manner as will give priority to reducing adverse
environmental effects of excessive or improper withdrawals of water from concentrated
Through five workshops conducted with the Authority's Board members, City and County
Administrators, and member government utility directors, discussed later in this report,
consensus was reached on three objectives that the participants felt were important for the
Authority. These objectives were:
* The Authority will be responsive and responsible (environmentally and technically), by
providing an adequate water supply to members without a negative impact on the
* The Authority operates as a regional system supplying water in an efficient manner at
The Authority is a stable institution with a clear mission.
Legislative Mandate for Study
During its 1996 session, the Florida State Legislature considered several pieces of legislation
to modify the Authority. The proposals ranged from requiring a uniform rate to providing
more assistance to the Authority through ad valorem taxes. The bill passed by the Legislature
was more modest in its approach calling for an evaluation of the current situation and
recommendations to the Legislature in the following areas:
Authority membership and voting
Funding options and implementation, including membership responsibility apportionment
A water supply development plan based on a 20 year planning horizon
Facilities ownership and management
Governing board membership, terms, responsibilities and officers
Utilization of .10 mills of basin board ad valorem taxing authority (should the Legislature
provide such authority)
The Authority is required to submit a report to the Legislature by February 1, 1997. The
report may include any proposed statutory amendments necessary to implement the
recommendations of the Authority.
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KPMG was requested by the Authority's Board to conduct an independent evaluation of
fundamental issues and options for the Authority's governing, operating, funding, and
facilities ownership. The objectives of this study were to:
* evaluate the elements mandated by the Legislature;
* develop strategic options for governance, facilities ownership and financing for the
* conduct workshops with the Board to obtain input and evaluate the options; and
* prepare a report of findings, options, and recommendations to submit to the Legislature by
February 1, 1997.
This report serves as KPMG's first deliverable to the Authority's Board on its findings and
options and does not include recommendations. A series of Board workshops is planned
during the Fall of 1996 to discuss and receive input on the options. Recommendations will be
developed after the workshops and included in the Legislative Report.
KPMG's approach for conducting this study included the following five tasks:
* Task 1 Assess Authority membership, voting and Board membership, terms,
responsibilities, and officers.
* Task 2 Evaluate funding options and implementation, including membership
responsibility apportionment. Evaluate utilization of .10 mill basin board ad valorem
* Task 3 Evaluate the water supply development plan based on a 20 year planning horizon.
* Task 4 Evaluate facilities ownership and management.
* Task 5 Develop recommendations with the Board.
Key activities accomplished with the work plan include the following:
* Interviews with the Authority staff and Board members, legislators, lobbyist, facilitator,
Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), member government's
utility directors, and environmental interest groups
* Review of the Authority's documents
* Review of member government data
* Developments of findings and options
* Workshops planned in Fall of 1996
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