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June 22, 2005

At its June 21 meeting, the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Coastal Rivers Basin Board adopted a tentative fiscal year 2006 (FY2006) millage rate of 0.235 mill, which is the same as the current fiscal year.

The tentative budget for FY2006 is $8,457,750, which represents an increase of $336,746 from the approved FY2005 budget. The increase in the budget is primarily due to an increase in property values and increases in funding from local governments for Cooperative Funding projects. This is offset by a reduction in balances available from prior years to fund the FY2006 budget, as compared to FY2005. FY2006 will run from Oct. 1, 2005, through Sept. 30, 2006.

For the owner of a $100,000 home with a $25,000 homestead exemption, the FY 2006 Basin Board tax would be $17.63, or about $1.47 per month.

The Coastal Rivers Basin Board’s tentative FY2006 budget includes funding for Cooperative Funding projects. These projects are proposed by local governments, and are usually equally funded by the Basin Board and the local cooperator. One of the Coastal Rivers Basin Board’s Cooperative Funding projects is the construction of the U.S. 41 S. Service Area Reuse System.

The project consists of the construction of 37,670 linear feet of transmission main, two 1.0 million gallon-per-day (mgd) pump stations, one 1.5 mg reclaimed water storage tank, and three 3 mg storage ponds. The reclaimed water associated with this project will be used to irrigate the golf course, common areas, and individual residences at Southern Hills Plantation.

When the project is initially complete, it is expected to provide 200,000 gallons-per-day (gpd) of reclaimed water, which will result in an offset of 150,000 gpd. At build-out, the project is expected to provide 1.92 mgd, which will potentially provide a future offset of 1 mgd.

This multi-year project is estimated to cost $4.6 million. The Coastal Rivers Basin Board previously funded $1,221,201 and is tentatively contributing $542,209 in FY2006. The Basin Board may contribute additional funding in future fiscal years.

The Basin Board’s tentative budget also includes $758,078 for Water Supply and Resource Development. Water Supply and Resource Development funds projects that develop additional new sustainable water supplies.

One of the Water Supply and Resource Development projects in the tentative budget is the Pasco County Central/East Regional Reclaimed Water Interconnect.

The project consists of the design and construction of a 52,000 feet reclaimed water transmission main which will connect Pasco County’s West-Central Interconnect and the Wesley Center Wastewater Treatment Facility. This project will deliver reclaimed water to the rapidly growing central and eastern portions of Pasco County, indirectly allowing offsets that will be realized within those growing portions of the Pasco County Reuse System.

The estimated cost of the project is $ 3,803,774. The Coastal Rivers Basin Board is tentatively budgeting $76,629.

The District has eight regional Basin Boards that provide guidance for local programs that are specific to the watershed basins they protect. The District’s ninth basin, the Green Swamp, is administered by the Governing Board. Basin Boards work with local governments and other entities on water resource projects that have an impact in local communities. Basin Boards often provide partial funding for these projects in partnership with a local government or local cooperator. The Coastal Rivers Basin Board covers portions of Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties.

Basin Board members are unpaid citizen volunteers appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. They serve three-year staggered terms. Each of the Basin Boards includes a minimum of one person from each county within the basin, and there must be at least three members on each board. Each Basin Board has at least one of the 11 members of the District’s Governing Board that serves as the Board’s chair ex officio.

The District’s Governing Board will adopt tentative millage rates for the District’s General Fund and the eight Basin Boards at its monthly meeting in June at the District’s Brooksville headquarters. These millage rates will be used by county property appraisers when mailing out Truth In Millage (TRIM) notices to residents. The Basin Boards will meet again in August to adopt their final millage rates and budgets.

Two statutorily required public TRIM hearings on the District’s total budget will be held in September. The first will be Sept. 13 at 5:01 p.m. at the District’s Tampa Service Office.

The Governor’s office will review and approve the budgets of all five water management districts before the second and final public hearing.

The District’s second and final TRIM hearing will be Sept. 27 at 5:01 p.m. at the District’s Brooksville headquarters. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Governing Board will formally adopt the final millage rates and budgets. The public is welcome to attend any Governing Board or Basin Board meetings to provide comment on the proposed budgets.

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