(1) The Legislature hereby recognizes the continuing need for inland navigation districts to undertake programs necessary to accomplish the purposes of construction, maintenance, and operation of Florida’s inland waterways pursuant to s. 107 of the federal River and Harbor Act of 1960, 33 U.S.C. s. 577, and that it is in the public interest for inland navigation districts to operate and maintain the intracoastal waterway and any other public navigation channels authorized by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund.
(2) The Legislature hereby directs all inland navigation districts to undertake, as outlined in this act, additional programs designed to alleviate the problems associated with the districts’ waterways.
(3) The Florida Inland Navigation District and the West Coast Inland Navigation District are directed to develop long-range plans for maintenance of the intracoastal waterway and for spoil disposal.
History.—s. 1, ch. 85-200; s. 29, ch. 87-225; s. 1, ch. 90-264; s. 16, ch. 95-146; s. 1, ch. 2008-40.
374.976 Authority to address impacts of waterway development projects.—
(1) Each inland navigation district is empowered and authorized to undertake programs intended to alleviate the problems associated with its waterway or waterways, including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) The district may act as a local interest sponsor for any project designated as a “Section 107, River and Harbor Act of 1960” project authorized and undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and, in this regard, may comply with any or all conditions imposed on local interests as part of such project.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that the district may sponsor or furnish assistance and support to member counties and local governments within the district in planning and carrying out beach renourishment and inlet management projects. Such assistance and support, if financial in nature, shall be contributed only after a finding by the board that inlet management projects are a benefit to public navigation in the district and that the beaches to be nourished have been adversely impacted by navigation inlets, navigation structures, navigation dredging, or a navigation project. Such projects will be consistent with Department of Environmental Protection approved inlet management plans and the statewide beach management plan pursuant to s. 161.161. Inlet management projects that are determined to be consistent with Department of Environmental Protection approved inlet management plans are declared to be a benefit to public navigation.
(c) The district is authorized to aid and cooperate with the Federal Government; state; member counties; nonmember counties that contain any part of the intracoastal waterway within their boundaries; navigation districts; the seaports of Jacksonville, Port Canaveral, Fort Pierce, Palm Beach, Port Everglades, Miami, Port Manatee, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Port St. Joe, Panama City, Pensacola, Key West, and Fernandina; and local governments within the district in planning and carrying out public navigation, local and regional anchorage management, beach renourishment, public recreation, inlet management, environmental education, and boating safety projects, directly related to the waterways. The district is also authorized to enter into cooperative agreements with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, state, and member counties, and to covenant in any such cooperative agreement to pay part of the costs of acquisition, planning, development, construction, reconstruction, extension, improvement, operation, and maintenance of such projects.
(d) The district is authorized to enter into cooperative agreements with navigation-related districts to pay part of the costs of acquisition of spoil disposal sites.
(e) The district is authorized to enter into ecosystem management agreements with the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to s. 403.075.
(2) A district that sponsors a program pursuant to this section shall adopt rules to govern the program, pursuant to chapter 120. At a minimum, such rules shall prohibit the encumbrance of funds for a project beyond 3 years following approval of the project and, except for funds provided to enhance public navigation, law enforcement on the waterways, or environmental education projects within its district, shall prohibit financial support unless matching funds are provided by the recipient of such financial support. The district may waive such rules for a project approved in a county that is recovering from a state of emergency declared under chapter 252.
(3) Except as provided in subsection (2), all financial assistance and support furnished by the Florida Inland Navigation District and the West Coast Inland Navigation District to member counties and local governments within the districts shall require matching funds. Such matching funds shall be clearly identified and enumerated as to amount and source. Such financial assistance and support, except as provided pursuant to paragraph (1)(a) and except for a project approved in a county that is recovering from a state of emergency declared under chapter 252, shall not exceed the proportional share of ad valorem tax collections from each county.
(4) The Florida Inland Navigation District may furnish assistance and support to seaports for the purpose of planning and carrying out dredge material management projects, other environmental mitigation projects, and other projects concerning waterway-related access. Port projects shall benefit publicly maintained channels and harbors. Any port eligible for funding shall be located in a member county of the district, and each port shall contribute matching funds for funded projects. Financial assistance for such port projects shall not be included in calculating the proportional share of ad valorem tax collections of the county in which the port is located, provided the port seeking assistance demonstrates a regional benefit realized from the port’s activities. However, the cost of a port project funded under this section may not exceed the proportional share of ad valorem taxation of the counties in the district which are benefited by the project.
History.—s. 2, ch. 85-200; s. 2, ch. 90-264; s. 80, ch. 93-120; s. 31, ch. 93-211; s. 141, ch. 96-320; s. 1, ch. 96-425; ss. 1, 2, ch. 98-326; s. 24, ch. 99-5; s. 174, ch. 99-13; s. 2, ch. 2008-40.
374.977 Inland navigation districts; manatee protection speed zones, responsibility for sign posting.—The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall assume the responsibility for posting and maintaining regulatory markers for manatee protection speed zones as posted by the inland navigation districts pursuant to a rule adopted by the commission under s. 379.2431(2). The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission may apply to inland navigation districts for funding under s. 374.976 to assist with implementing its responsibility under this section for maintaining regulatory markers for manatee protection speed zones.
History.—s. 6, ch. 90-219; s. 3, ch. 90-264; s. 281, ch. 94-356; s. 6, ch. 2001-272; s. 3, ch. 2008-40; s. 37, ch. 2009-21.
374.978 District board; compensation.—Members of inland navigation districts shall be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061.
History.—s. 3, ch. 85-200.
FLORIDA INLAND NAVIGATION DISTRICT LAW
374.980 Legislative intent.
374.981 Short title.
374.983 Governing body.
374.984 Purpose; powers and duties.
374.986 Taxing authority.
374.987 Financial matters.
374.988 Preservation of taxing authority.
374.980 Legislative intent.—
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to consolidate and codify in this part all current and applicable laws or acts relating to the Florida Inland Navigation District and to locate these provisions within this chapter. It is the further intent of the Legislature that all prior laws or acts, insofar as they relate to the Florida Inland Navigation District, are repealed as provided in this act.
(2) By codifying the charter of the Florida Inland Navigation District in this part, the Legislature has no intention of restricting or withdrawing the ad valorem taxing authority vested in the Florida Inland Navigation District pursuant to ss. 2 and 15, Art. XII of the State Constitution.
History.—s. 2, ch. 96-425.
374.981 Short title.—This part may be cited as the “Florida Inland Navigation District Law.”
History.—s. 2, ch. 96-425.
374.982 District.—An independent special taxing district to be known as the “Florida Inland Navigation District” is hereby created. The territorial boundaries of the district shall be the counties of Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia, Brevard, St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade. For purposes of this chapter, the term “district” means the Florida Inland Navigation District and the term “board” means the Board of Commissioners of the Florida Inland Navigation District.
History.—s. 2, ch. 96-425; s. 1, ch. 2004-15.
374.983 Governing body.—
(1) A governing body of the district is hereby created, and shall be known as and designated as the “Board of Commissioners of the Florida Inland Navigation District,” and shall be composed of 12 members who shall be qualified electors residing in said district, no 2 of whom shall reside in the same county in the district. The governing body shall have all powers of a body corporate, including the power to sue and be sued as a corporation, in its name, and in any court having jurisdiction; to make contracts; to adopt and use a common seal and to alter the same as deemed expedient; to buy, acquire by gift, exchange, condemnation, or otherwise, sell, own, lease (as lessor or lessee), and convey such real estate and personal property as the board may deem proper to carry out the provisions of this act; to appoint and employ such engineers, attorneys, consultants, and such agents and employees as the board may require; to borrow money and issue negotiable promissory notes, bonds and/or other evidences of indebtedness therefor to enable them to carry out the provisions of this act; and generally to do and perform the things necessary to accomplish the purposes of this act.
(2) The present board of commissioners of the district shall continue to hold office until their respective terms shall expire. Thereafter the members of the board shall continue to be appointed by the Governor for a term of 4 years and until their successors shall be duly appointed. Specifically, commencing on January 10, 1997, the Governor shall appoint the commissioners from Broward, Indian River, Martin, St. Johns, and Volusia Counties and on January 10, 1999, the Governor shall appoint the commissioners from Brevard, Miami-Dade, Duval, Flagler, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie Counties. The Governor shall appoint the commissioner from Nassau County for an initial term that coincides with the period remaining in the current terms of the commissioners from Broward, Indian River, Martin, St. Johns, and Volusia Counties. Thereafter, the commissioner from Nassau County shall be appointed to a 4-year term. Each new appointee must be confirmed by the Senate. Whenever a vacancy occurs among the commissioners, the person appointed to fill such vacancy shall hold office for the unexpired portion of the term of the commissioner whose place he or she is selected to fill. Each commissioner under this act before he or she assumes office shall be required to give a good and sufficient surety bond in the sum of $10,000 payable to the Governor and his or her successors in office, conditioned upon the faithful performance of the duties of his or her office, such bond to be approved by and filed with the Chief Financial Officer. Any and all premiums upon such surety bonds shall be paid by the board of commissioners of such district as a necessary expense of the district.
(3) The officers of the board shall be: one chair, one vice chair, one secretary, and one treasurer; provided, however, that no one person shall be eligible to hold more than one of said offices at one and the same time. The officers shall be elected from the board by the members thereof. Six members of the board of commissioners shall constitute a quorum, and the vote of a majority of such quorum shall be necessary to the transaction of business. Board and committee meetings may be conducted utilizing communications media technology, pursuant to s. 120.54(5)(b)2. The chair shall have the right to vote at all meetings of the board. Special meetings of the board may be called at any time by the chair, with notice thereof to be given to each member of the board.
(4) For the purpose of facilitating the transaction of business of the district, the board is empowered to establish, from time to time, a committee or committees, each to be composed of not less than three nor more than five members of the board, and to delegate to such committee or committees such powers and responsibilities as the board may deem appropriate. Any act, resolution, or transaction of said committee acting within the limitations of the powers and responsibilities delegated to it or them by the board shall have the force and effect as if done by the board.
(5) Members of the district shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for travel expenses incidental to attendance at board meetings, or the performance of other official duties as a member of the board, as provided by s. 112.061.
History.—s. 2, ch. 96-425; s. 175, ch. 99-13; s. 387, ch. 2003-261; s. 2, ch. 2004-15.
374.984 Purpose; powers and duties.—It is the purpose and intent of this act that the board perform and do all things which shall be requisite and necessary to comply with the requirements and conditions imposed upon a “local interest” by the Congress of the United States in the several acts authorizing and directing the improvement and maintenance of the Intracoastal Waterway from St. Marys River to the southernmost boundary of Miami-Dade County and that portion of the Okeechobee Waterway located in Martin and Palm Beach Counties. Said acts include but are not limited to: the Rivers and Harbors Act approved January 21, 1927, as amended by the River and Harbor Act approved July 3, 1930; the River and Harbor Act of June 20, 1938; the River and Harbor Act of March 2, 1945; and s. 107 of the Federal River and Harbor Act of 1960. Pursuant thereto, the powers of the board shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) Obtaining by gift, donation, purchase, exchange, condemnation, or otherwise, and conveying, or causing to be conveyed, free of cost to the United States, necessary right-of-way property, and in addition thereto, suitable fee simple or easement areas (as determined by the board) for the deposit of dredged material in connection with the work of improving or constructing, or both, the aforementioned waterway and its subsequent maintenance, including future improvement of said Intracoastal Waterway, with a view to providing a general depth of 12 feet, more or less, depending upon specific local conditions, referred to the plane of local mean water, and a width appropriate to said depth and such improvements as may be authorized and adopted by the Congress of the United States, and in connection with the subsequent maintenance of said waterway so improved. Prior to acquiring any property for the deposit of dredged material, the district shall inform the county and, if applicable, the municipalities in which the property to be acquired is located of the district’s intent to acquire such property and the district shall further hold a public meeting to advise the residents of the area of its intent. Such public meeting shall be noticed in a paper of general circulation in the county in which the meeting is to be held not less than 15 days prior to the meeting, said notice to contain the date, time, and place of the meeting and to identify the potential acquisition site or sites.
(2) Obtaining by gift, donation, purchase, exchange, condemnation, or otherwise, and furnishing, free of cost, to the United States, any property, property right of every description, easement, riparian right, interest in property, and suitable dredged material management areas outside of said right-of-way that may be necessary to the United States for the construction, maintenance, or operation of said waterway.
(3) Contracting for the purchase of any property to be acquired or obtained by the board under the provisions of this act and paying the purchase price therefor in a lump sum or in installments or deferred payments upon such terms as the board shall determine, said contract of purchase to provide for the payment of interest not to exceed the maximum interest rate permitted by law upon deferred payments. Any acquisition of property, other than by eminent domain, shall be pursuant to rules adopted by the board.
(4) Exercising and using the right of eminent domain, and condemning for the use of the district or to effect the purposes of this act, or both, any and all lands, easements, areas for deposit of dredged materials, right-of-way, riparian rights, and/or property rights of every description required for the public purposes and powers of the board. Such condemnation proceeding shall be maintained by and in the name of the district and the procedures shall be those prescribed and set forth in chapters 73 and 74, as amended from time to time, prescribing the procedure for condemnation by counties, and the same rights and powers shall accrue to said district under such procedures defined and set forth as accruing to the counties in chapters 73 and 74, as well as pursuant to any other general law pertaining thereto, and the district and the board are hereby vested with power and authority to pay such judgment or compensation awarded in any such proceedings out of any fund available for the purchase of right-of-way, areas for deposit of dredged material, or other property under the provisions of this act.
(5) Assuming and/or relieving the United States from the cost, expense, and/or obligation of constructing, reconstructing, maintaining, and/or operating any bridge over said Intracoastal Waterway, whenever, in the judgment of the board of commissioners, such action is necessary or proper upon its part to fully comply with the requirements and conditions imposed upon “local interests” by the Congress of the United States in the several acts authorizing and directing the improvement, navigability, and maintenance of the Intracoastal Waterway from St. Marys River to the southernmost boundary of Miami-Dade County and that portion of the Okeechobee Waterway located in Martin and Palm Beach Counties; the expense therefor to be paid as a necessary expense of the district. The board is authorized and empowered to contract with the board of county commissioners of each or any county in the district to the end that, for a consideration from the district, said board of county commissioners, or county, shall assume the responsibility for any or all of the following activities: the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or operation of any such bridge. Any of said board of county commissioners or county is hereby authorized and empowered to enter into such a contract with the board of the district, and such contract shall be binding and obligatory upon said county or counties and the district.
(6)(a) Contracting directly for, or entering into agreement from time to time with the district engineer of the Jacksonville, Florida, United States Army Corps of Engineers district, or other agency or party, to contribute toward the cost of dredging performed on the waterway, to construct retaining bulkheads, dikes, and levees, to construct ditches for the control of water discharged by the dredges, and to do all other work and/or things which, in the judgment of the board, shall be proper and necessary to produce economies in meeting the conditions with respect to right-of-way and dredged material management areas imposed upon a “local interest” by the Congress of the United States in the several acts authorizing and directing the improvement, navigability, and maintenance of the Intracoastal Waterway from St. Marys River to the southernmost boundary of Miami-Dade County and that portion of the Okeechobee Waterway located in Martin and Palm Beach Counties.
(b) In order to effectuate the purpose and intent of any law or laws that may heretofore have been, or may hereafter be, enacted by the Congress of the United States, authorizing and directing the Secretary of the Army to make preliminary examinations and surveys of the Intracoastal Waterway from St. Marys River to the southernmost boundary of Miami-Dade County and that portion of the Okeechobee Waterway located in Martin and Palm Beach Counties, the board is authorized and empowered to collect, compile, and furnish to the Secretary of the Army, or his or her officers and agents, data, statistics, and other appropriate information bearing on the advantages, benefits, and increased usefulness that may be expected to accrue to the public and to the counties traversed by the Intracoastal Waterway from St. Marys River to the southernmost boundary of Miami-Dade County and that portion of the Okeechobee Waterway located in Martin and Palm Beach Counties, by reason of any improvement thereof, that may subsequently be authorized by the Congress of the United States.
(c) The board of county commissioners of Monroe County is hereby authorized and empowered to authorize the district to act as the board of county commissioners’ agent in all matters pertaining to the extension of the inland waterway into Monroe County. The board of county commissioners of Monroe County is hereby authorized to levy an ad valorem tax not to exceed 1 mill for the purpose of defraying the expenses incurred by any action taken under this subsection. Moneys received as a result of this levy shall be paid into an inland waterway fund, the establishment of which is herewith authorized. The district is herewith authorized and empowered to act as the agent of Monroe County for extending the inland waterway into Monroe County, to make charges therefor, and to receive payment thereof.
(d) The board is hereby authorized and empowered to expend funds of the district for publicizing the Intracoastal Waterway from St. Marys River to the southernmost boundary of Miami-Dade County and that portion of the Okeechobee Waterway located in Martin and Palm Beach Counties, and its availability to watercraft, and to print and distribute information as to the route, channel, available depth, and utility of said Intracoastal Waterway and such other information and data as may, in the opinion of the board, be desirable, useful, or attractive to give full information regarding said waterway and/or to promote its use in navigation by watercraft of all kinds.
(e) In order to defray the necessary expenses of the district and/or provide funds for expenditures incident to obtaining right-of-way or other property or easements and/or to pay the purchase price of said property and/or to defray other necessary expenses of the district or its board, the board is hereby authorized to borrow moneys from time to time for said purpose or purposes in an amount or amounts such that not in excess of $100,000 indebtedness will be outstanding at any one time.
(f) All land owned, now or hereafter, by the district shall be, and the same is, hereby exempted from taxation of all kinds.
(g) When the district desires to dispose of surplus land, it shall declare such land surplus by resolution of the board. Copies of said resolution shall be furnished to the Secretary of Environmental Protection, the chair of the county commissioners of the county in which the land is located, and, in the event the land is within a municipality, the mayor of said municipality. If any state agency, county, or municipality desires to utilize said land for outdoor recreation or conservation purposes and the Secretary of Environmental Protection finds that the land is required by the state, county, or city for its recreation or conservation program, it shall notify the district in writing within 60 days after receiving a copy of the resolution. Priority shall be in the state, county, and municipality in that order. The land may then be conveyed with or without consideration to the state agency, county, or municipality by the district; provided, however, that said land be used for outdoor recreation or conservation purpose in perpetuity by the appropriate county, municipal, or state agency. If the district does not receive notice as specified above, it may sell the land at public auction.
(h) The district is designated the local interest sponsor for the sole purpose of maintaining navigability of that portion of the Okeechobee Waterway located in Martin and Palm Beach Counties. The Legislature recognizes that the water level of Lake Okeechobee and the section of the Okeechobee Waterway within the lake are subject to natural weather cycles and lake management strategies that may adversely affect navigation. As such actions are outside of the district’s control, the district shall not be required to undertake actions to restore navigation when lake levels are less than 12.56 feet National Geodetic Vertical Datum.
History.—s. 2, ch. 96-425; s. 15, ch. 2001-256; s. 3, ch. 2004-15; s. 1, ch. 2005-35.
374.986 Taxing authority.—
(1) The tax assessor, tax collector, and board of county commissioners of each and every county in said district, shall, when requested by the board, prepare from their official records and deliver any and all information that may be from time to time requested from him or her or them or either of them by the board regarding the tax valuation, assessments, collection, and any other information regarding the levy, assessment, and collection of taxes in each of said counties.
(2) The board may annually assess and levy against the taxable property in the district a tax not to exceed one-tenth mill on the dollar for each year, and the proceeds from such tax shall be used by the district for all expenses of the district including the purchase price of right-of-way and other property. The board shall, on or before the 31st day of July of each year, prepare a tentative annual written budget of the district’s expected income and expenditures. In addition, the board shall compute a proposed millage rate to be levied as taxes for that year upon the taxable property in the district for the purposes of said district. The proposed budget shall be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection for its approval. Prior to adopting a final budget, the district shall comply with the provisions of s. 200.065, relating to the method of fixing millage, and shall fix the final millage rate by resolution of the district and shall also, by resolution, adopt a final budget pursuant to chapter 200. Copies of such resolutions executed in the name of the board by its chair, and attested by its secretary, shall be made and delivered to the county officials specified in s. 200.065 of each and every county in the district, to the Department of Revenue, and to the Chief Financial Officer. Thereupon, it shall be the duty of the property assessor of each of said counties to assess, and the tax collector of each of said counties to collect, a tax at the rate fixed by said resolution of the board upon all of the real and personal taxable property in said counties for said year (and such officers shall perform such duty) and said levy shall be included in the warrant of the tax assessors of each of said counties and attached to the assessment roll of taxes for each of said counties. The tax collectors of each of said counties shall collect such taxes so levied by the board in the same manner as other taxes are collected, and shall pay the same within the time and in the manner prescribed by law, to the treasurer of the board. It shall be the duty of the Chief Financial Officer to assess and levy on all railroad lines and railroad property and telegraph lines and telegraph property in the district a tax at the rate prescribed by resolution of the board, and to collect the tax thereon in the same manner as he or she is required by law to assess and collect taxes for state and county purposes and to remit the same to the treasurer of the board. All such taxes shall be held by the treasurer of the district for the credit of the district and paid out by him or her as provided herein. The tax assessor and property appraiser of each of said counties shall be entitled to payment as provided for by general laws.
History.—s. 2, ch. 96-425; s. 47, ch. 97-96; s. 388, ch. 2003-261.
374.987 Financial matters.—
(1) The funds of the district shall be paid out only upon warrant signed by any two of the following board officers: the treasurer, the chair, or the vice chair. No warrant shall be drawn or issued against funds of said district except for a purpose authorized by this act, and no such warrant against funds of the district shall be drawn or used unless the account or expenditure for which the same is to be given in payment has been ordered and approved by the board; except that the board may approve through any two of the following board officers, chair, vice chair, or treasurer, the payment of expenses for authorized official travel and per diem of commissioners and employees, the payment of salaries of regular employees, and the payment of continuing expenses for office rent, electricity, telephone, telegraph, heat, stationery, stamps, maps, newspapers, and petty cash items, on vouchers properly certified by the commissioner or employee concerned.
(2) The title, right, use, and ownership of property, collected and uncollected taxes, dues, claims, judgment, moneys, authorized and unissued bonds, decrees, and choses in action held, authorized, or owned by either the district or its board shall pass to and be vested in the district organized and created under this act. No debt, obligation, or contract of the district shall be impaired or voided by this act, but debts, obligations, and contracts shall pass to and be binding upon the district created and existing under this act.
History.—s. 2, ch. 96-425; s. 141, ch. 2001-266.
374.988 Preservation of taxing authority.—The enactment of this act shall not affect the taxing authority granted to the district or any contract or obligation of such district entered into prior to July 1, 1996. The district shall continue to exercise the taxing power previously authorized by the Laws of Florida, until such power shall be specifically revoked or modified by the Legislature.
History.—s. 2, ch. 96-425.
374.989 Construction.—It is intended that the provisions of chapter 96-425, Laws of Florida, shall be liberally construed for accomplishing the work authorized and provided for or intended to be authorized and provided for by chapter 96-425, and where strict construction would result in the defeat of the accomplishment of any part of the work authorized by this act, and a liberal construction would permit or assist in the accomplishment thereof, the liberal construction shall be chosen.