(1) It is the finding of the Legislature that the general regulatory and administrative functions of the districts herein authorized are of general benefit to the people of the state and should fully or in part be financed by general appropriations. Further, it is the finding of the Legislature that water resources programs of particular benefit to limited segments of the population should be financed by those most directly benefited. To those ends, this chapter provides for the establishment of permit application fees and a method of ad valorem taxation to finance the activities of the district.
(2)(a) The Legislature declares that the millage authorized for water management purposes by s. 9(b), Art. VII of the State Constitution shall be levied only by the water management districts set forth in this chapter and intends by this section to prevent any laws which would allow other units of government to levy any portion of said millage. However, this does not preclude such units of government from financing and engaging in water management programs if otherwise authorized by law.
(b) Pursuant to s. 11(a)(21), Art. III of the State Constitution, the Legislature hereby prohibits special laws or general laws of local application pertaining to the allocation of any portion of the millage authorized for water management purposes by s. 9(b), Art. VII of the State Constitution to any unit of government other than those districts established by this chapter.
(c) The authority of the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District and the Southwest Florida Water Management District to levy ad valorem taxes within the territories specified in chapter 25270, 1949, Laws of Florida, and chapter 61-691, Laws of Florida, respectively, as heretofore amended, shall continue until those districts have authority to levy ad valorem taxes pursuant to this section.
(3)(a) The districts may levy ad valorem taxes on property within the district solely for the purposes of this chapter and of chapter 25270, 1949, Laws of Florida, as amended, and chapter 61-691, Laws of Florida, as amended. The authority to levy ad valorem taxes as provided in this act shall commence with the year 1977. However, the taxes levied for 1977 by the governing boards pursuant to this section shall be prorated to ensure that no such taxes will be levied for the first 4 days of the tax year, which days will fall prior to the effective date of the amendment to s. 9(b), Art. VII of the State Constitution, which was approved March 9, 1976. When appropriate, taxes levied by each governing board may be separated by the governing board into a millage necessary for the purposes of the district and a millage necessary for financing basin functions specified in s. 373.0695. Beginning with the taxing year 1977, and notwithstanding the provisions of any other general or special law to the contrary, the maximum total millage rate for district and basin purposes shall be:
1. Northwest Florida Water Management District: 0.05 mill.
2. Suwannee River Water Management District: 0.75 mill.
3. St. Johns River Water Management District: 0.6 mill.
4. Southwest Florida Water Management District: 1.0 mill.
5. South Florida Water Management District: 0.80 mill.
(b) The apportionment in the South Florida Water Management District shall be a maximum of 40 percent for district purposes and a maximum of 60 percent for basin purposes, respectively.
(c) Within the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the maximum millage assessed for district purposes shall not exceed 50 percent of the total authorized millage when there are one or more basins in the district, and the maximum millage assessed for basin purposes shall not exceed 50 percent of the total authorized millage.
(4) It is hereby determined that the taxes authorized by this chapter are in proportion to the benefits to be derived by the several parcels of real estate within the districts to which territories are annexed and transferred. It is further determined that the cost of conducting elections within the respective districts or within the transferred or annexed territories, including costs incidental thereto in preparing for such election and in informing the electors of the issues therein, is a proper expenditure of the department, of the respective districts, and of the district to which such territory is or has been annexed or transferred.
(5) Each water management district created under this chapter which does not receive state shared revenues under part II of chapter 218 shall, before January 1 of each year, certify compliance or noncompliance with s. 200.065 to the Department of Financial Services. Specific grounds for noncompliance shall be stated in the certification. In its annual report required by s. 218.32(2), the Department of Financial Services shall report to the Governor and the Legislature those water management districts certifying noncompliance or not reporting.
History.—s. 1, part V, ch. 72-299; s. 24, ch. 73-190; s. 12, ch. 76-243; s. 6, ch. 80-259; s. 41, ch. 80-274; s. 2, ch. 85-146; ss. 1, 2, ch. 85-211; s. 10, ch. 87-97; s. 8, ch. 91-288; s. 384, ch. 2003-261.