154.331 County health and mental health care special districts.—Each county may establish a dependent special district pursuant to the provisions of chapter 125 or, by ordinance, create an independent special district as defined in s. 200.001(8)(e) to provide funding for indigent and other health and mental health care services throughout the county in accordance with this section. The county governing body shall obtain approval, by a majority vote of the electors, to establish the district with authority to annually levy ad valorem taxes which shall not exceed the maximum millage rate authorized by this section. Any independent health or mental health care special district created by this section shall be required to levy and fix millage subject to the provisions of s. 200.065. Once approved by the electorate, the independent health or mental health care special district shall not be required to seek approval of the electorate in future years to levy the previously approved millage.
(1) The county governing body shall appoint a district health or mental health care board to serve as the governing board of the independent special district. Such board shall consist of not less than five members, of which two members shall be appointed to the board by the Governor, and not less than three members shall be appointed by the governing body of the county. All members shall have been residents of the county for the previous 12-month period. The members’ terms shall be staggered and may not exceed 4 years. No member shall serve for more than two consecutive terms. The governing body of the county shall fill any vacancies that may occur during the term of any board member. Board members may be removed for cause only by the Governor or by a majority of the electors voting within the county.
(2)(a) Each district health or mental health care board may, subject to the limitations placed on the district by the governing body of the county at the time the independent special district was created and approved by the electorate, have any or all of the following powers or functions:
1. To provide and maintain in the county such health or mental health care clinics as the board determines are needed for the general welfare of the county.
2. To provide for the health or mental health care of indigents and to provide such other health or mental health-related services for indigents, including the purchase of institutional services from any private or publicly owned medical facility, as the board determines are needed for the general welfare of the county.
3. To allocate and provide funds for other agencies or facilities in the county which provide health or mental health benefits or health or mental health services that improve the general welfare of indigents and other county residents.
4. To collect information and statistical data that will be helpful to the board and the county in deciding the health or mental health care needs in the county.
5. To consult and coordinate with other agencies dedicated to health or mental health care to the end that the overlapping of services will be prevented.
6. To govern, operate, administer, and fund, or any combination thereof, any county-owned or county-operated medical or mental health facility which is a major provider of charitable health or mental health care services for low-income persons.
7. To assume funding for the county’s share of state or federal indigent health or mental health care programs which require financial participation by the county.
8. To lease or buy such real property and personal property and to construct such buildings as are needed to execute the foregoing powers or functions; however, such purchases may not be made or construction done unless paid for with cash on hand or secured by funds deposited in financial institutions. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to authorize an independent health or mental health care special district to issue bonds of any nature, nor shall it have the power to require the imposition of any bond by the governing body of the county.
9. To employ, pay, and provide benefits for any part-time or full-time personnel needed to execute the foregoing powers and functions.
(b) Each district health or mental health care board shall:
1. Organize immediately after the members are appointed to elect one of its members as chair and one of its members as vice chair, and elect other officers as deemed necessary by the board.
2. Make and adopt bylaws and rules and regulations for the board’s guidance, operation, governance, and maintenance, provided such rules and regulations are not inconsistent with federal or state laws or ordinances of the county.
(c) Board members shall serve without compensation, but shall be entitled to necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties.
(d) All financial records and accounts relating to the independent health or mental health care special district shall be available for review by the county governing body.
(3)(a) The fiscal year of the district must be the same as that of the county.
(b) On or before May 1 of each year, the district health or mental health care board shall prepare a tentative annual written budget of the district’s expected income and expenditures, including a contingency fund, and shall compute a proposed millage rate within the voter-approved cap necessary to fund the tentative budget. Prior to adopting a final budget, the board shall comply with the provisions of s. 200.065, relating to the method of fixing millage, and shall fix the final millage rate by ordinance or resolution of the board. The adopted budget and final millage rate must be certified and delivered to the county governing body no later than the time of adoption of the county’s annual budget. Included in each certified budget must be the millage rate adopted by ordinance or resolution of the independent health or mental health care special district board as necessary to be applied to raise the funds budgeted for district operations and expenditures. In no circumstances, however, shall any independent health or mental health care special district levy millage to exceed a maximum of 5 mills of assessed valuation of all properties within the county which are subject to ad valorem taxes or the amount approved by the electorate when the district was created, whichever is less. The budget of the district so certified and delivered to the county governing body may not be changed or modified by the county governing body or by any other authority.
(c) All tax moneys collected under this section, as soon after the collection thereof as is reasonably practicable, must be paid directly to the district health or mental health care board by the tax collector of the county, or by the clerk of the circuit court if the clerk collects delinquent taxes.
1. The moneys so received by the district health or mental health care board must be deposited in financial institutions with separate and distinguishable accounts established specifically for the district and may be withdrawn only by checks signed by the chair of the district health or mental health care board and countersigned by either one other member of the district health or mental health care board or by a chief executive officer who is so authorized by the board.
2. Upon entering the duties of office, the chair and the other member of the district health or mental health care board or chief executive officer who signs its checks shall each give a surety bond in the sum of $1,000, which bond must be conditioned that each of them shall faithfully discharge the duties of office. The premium on said bond may be paid by the special district as part of the expense of the board. No other member of the district health or mental health care board may be required to give bond or other security.
3. No funds of the district may be expended except by check as aforesaid, except expenditures from a petty cash account, which may not at any time exceed $25. All expenditures from petty cash must be recorded on the books and records of the district. No funds of the district, excepting expenditures from petty cash, may be expended without prior approval of the board, in addition to the budgeting thereof.
(d) Within 10 days after the expiration of each quarter-annual period, the district health or mental health care board shall cause to be prepared and filed with the county governing body a financial report, which includes:
1. The total expenditures of the board for the quarter-annual period;
2. The total receipts of the board during the quarter-annual period; and
3. A statement of the funds the board has on hand or deposited with financial institutions at the end of the quarter-annual period.
(4) Any independent health or mental health care special district may be dissolved pursuant to s. 165.051, or the county governing body may by ordinance vote to dissolve the independent health or mental health care special district subject to the approval of the electorate; provided, however, the county obligates itself to assume the debts, liabilities, contracts, and outstanding obligations of the district within the total millage available to the county governing body for all county and municipal purposes as provided for under s. 9, Art. VII of the State Constitution.
(5) Any independent health or mental health care special district created under this section shall comply with all other statutory requirements of general application which relate to the filing of any financial reports or compliance reports required under part III of chapter 218, or any other report or documentation required by law.
History.—s. 3, ch. 87-92; s. 17, ch. 88-294; s. 2, ch. 90-175; s. 875, ch. 95-147; s. 40, ch. 2001-266.