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notebook - Southwest Florida Water Management District

Minutes of the Meeting September 25, 2012

Governing Board Final Public Hearing Page 2 of 5

Chair Senft relinquished the gavel to Mr. Joerger, immediate Past Treasurer and Chair of

the Finance and Administration Committee. (02:02:00/02:03:55)

2. Opening Comments

Mr. Joerger said the purpose of this hearing is to provide the public an opportunity to speak

and ask questions prior to the Governing Board taking any actions regarding the budget.

Following this, the Board will adopt a final millage rate and budget for Fiscal Year (FY)

2012-13. We have developed this budget based on current economic and taxation realities

to ensure the long-term sustainability of our region’s water resources.

Mr. Joerger said the tentative budget is $159.5 million, which is $4.0 million more than last

year’s budget. This relates to an increase in funding for vital water resource projects within

the District’s four areas of responsibility: water supply, flood protection, water quality, and

natural systems. The tentative budget includes $100.5 million in ad valorem property tax

revenue. This is based on holding the millage rate at 0.3928 mill, the same as last year.

This is 3.63 percent below the rolled-back millage rate of 0.4076 mill.

Mr. Joerger said that, on September 18, 2012, after the first public hearing, the District

received a letter from Governor Rick Scott. He read into the record the letter sent to

Mr. Senft, Governing Board Chair.

In accordance with Section 373.536, Florida Statutes, I have reviewed the Southwest Florida

Water Management District’s Tentative Budget for Fiscal Year 2012-13. I want to applaud

the District for working cooperatively with the Department of Environmental Protection in

refocusing the resources of your District on the core missions of water supply, flood

protection, water quality and natural systems.

I also want to extend my appreciation to the Governing Board and the staff for its continued

protection of Florida’s water resources despite challenging economic times. I also appreciate

that you and your Governing Board are able to increase funding by $22.5 million for cost

share funding of cooperative projects with local governments for stormwater and surface

water projects. I congratulate the District for moving ahead with a number of important

environmental projects, including $5 million for the continued restoration of Lake Seminole

in Pinellas County, and $3 million for the restoration of the Rock Ponds ecosystem in

Hillsborough County.

I would like to personally commend the Governing Board for holding the ad valorem tax rate

at the same rate as last year and thereby lowering the tax burden for citizens. I understand

this is a difficult decision, but one that recognizes governmental growth cannot outpace that

of the private sector.

Consistent with the changes in law, pursuant to Chapter 2012-126, Laws of Florida, I am

approving the District’s Fiscal Year 2012-13 Tentative Budget.

I want to commend all the Districts for working with the DEP to ensure consistency across

District boundaries while providing the most responsible use of taxpayer dollars. Moving

forward, I ask that the Districts continue with consistency efforts and with the refinement of a

common set of performance metrics to demonstrate stewardship of taxpayer resources while

focusing on the core mission of protecting and developing water resources for current and

future generations. I would also like each District to review existing contracts and lease

agreements and seek price concessions from vendors. I have attached a list of objectives

I wish each District to pursue moving forward.

I want to thank you and your fellow Governing Board Members for your commitment to

serving Floridians and I look forward to working with you during the coming year, as we

continue to strive for the most efficient and effective manner to protect Florida’s water

resources.

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