August 9, 2006

At its August 8 meeting, the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Coastal Rivers Basin Board adopted a fiscal year 2007 (FY2007) millage rate of 0.205 mill, which is .03 mill below the FY2006 rate of .235 mill. This reduction was based on the estimated increase in property values for FY2007.

The budget for FY2007 is $8,329,310, which is an increase of $88,868 from the adopted FY2006 budget. The main reason for this budget increase is due to increased property values. FY2007 will run from Oct. 1, 2006, through Sept. 30, 2007.

The Coastal Rivers Basin Board covers portions of Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties. For the owner of a $125,000 home with a $25,000 homestead exemption, the FY2007 Basin Board tax would be $20.50, or about $1.71 per month.

The Coastal Rivers Basin Board’s FY2007 budget includes funding for Cooperative Funding projects. These projects are proposed by local governments and organizations, and are usually equally funded by the Basin Board and the local cooperator. One of the Coastal Rivers Basin Board’s Cooperative Funding projects will address flooding in the Rocky Sink Watershed.

The Rocky Sink Watershed, located in western Pasco County, is approximately 10 square miles. Stormwater runoff in the watershed flows into Rocky Sink, which is directly connected to the underlying Floridan Aquifer. The runoff often fills the sink to capacity, which causes flooding in the Bass Lake subdivision and on property located near Lakes Worrell, Garden and Worley.

This project will divert the stormwater runoff into the Boggy Creek watershed before it reaches Rocky Sink by constructing a diversion channel and a storage area. The project seeks to retain as much of the diverted flows as possible to recharge the aquifer. Excess flows will discharge to Boggy Creek, which flows into the Pithlachascotee River.

The multi-year funded project is estimated to cost $2.6 million. The Coastal Rivers Basin Board previously funded $711,357 and is contributing $253,436 in FY2007. The Basin Board may contribute additional funding in future fiscal years.

The Basin Board’s budget also includes $1,607,711 for Water Supply and Resource Development. The Water Supply and Resource Development Program funds projects that develop additional new sustainable water supplies.

One of the Water Supply and Resource Development projects in the budget is the Pasco County State Road 52 East/West Regional Reclaimed Water Interconnect.

The project consists of the design and construction of 84,480 linear feet of 24-inch reclaimed water transmission main. The newly constructed main will connect with another transmission main near the U.S. 41 entrance of the Connerton Development. From there it will stretch north to State Road 52, east along State Road 52 and south along McKendree Road to the Wesley Center wastewater treatment facility.

The estimated cost of this multi-year project is $18.6 million. Funding will be divided between Pasco County and the District. The District’s Coastal Rivers Basin Board is budgeting $311,321 in FY2007. Additional funds may be allocated in future fiscal years. In addition to funding from the Coastal Rivers Basin Board, the District’s Governing Board and the Hillsborough River, Pinellas-Anclote River and Withlacoochee River Basin Boards will also contribute funding.

The transmission main is expected to provide an estimated 6 million gallons of water per day (mgd), which will offset 3 mgd of groundwater. This savings will allow the county to hook-up an additional 10,000 residential reclaimed water customers and provide reclaimed water to customers located in each of the four basins from which funding is requested.

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.

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 millage rates for the District’s General Fund and the eight Basin Boards in September after two statutorily required public Truth in Millage (TRIM) hearings have been held. The first will be Sept. 12 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. 26 at 5:01 p.m. at
The District’s Tampa Service Office. 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 budgets.

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