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September 25, 2007

The Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board Tuesday unanimously approved the fiscal year 2008 (FY2008) budget and reduced millage rates. The total FY2008 budget for the District is $395 million, which is an $11.7 million increase over the FY2007 budget of $383.3 million. $1.4 million of the budget increase is due to additional ad valorem tax revenue. The balance of the increase includes additional state funding, interest earnings and balances available from the prior year. FY2008 will run from Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2008.

The FY2008 millage rates have been set equal to 97 percent of the rolled-back rate in compliance with House Bill 1B, the tax reform legislation signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist on June 21. The FY2008 millage rate for the Districtwide General Fund was lowered from 0.4220 to 0.3866, which is 8.4 percent below the FY2007 rate. The Basin Board millage rates range from 0.1484 for the Manasota Basin to 0.3701 for the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin.

“The Governing Board and all eight Basin Boards reduced their millage rates according to direction set forth under the tax reform legislation,” said Jennifer Closshey, Governing Board treasurer. “Had this legislation not been in effect, the District could have received an additional $21.8 million in ad valorem tax revenue, which could have been used to fund long-range water supply and water resource development projects.”

For the owner of a $125,000 home with a $25,000 homestead exemption, the FY2008 Districtwide tax is $38.66 a year, or about $3.22 per month. The Basin Board taxes range from $14.84 per year in the Manasota Basin to $37.01 per year in the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin.

In Governor Charlie Crist’s annual review of the District’s budget, the Governor praised the District’s commitment to protect and preserve natural resources, while maintaining sound financial planning.

“The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s continued financial restraint through its pay as you go approach, with an increased emphasis on Water Supply Resource Development is admirable,” said Governor Charlie Crist. “I encourage you to remain vigilant in addressing the demand for water resources in your region where recent new housing growth is outpacing the other districts.”

The total FY2008 budget includes the General Fund, Special Revenue Funds and Capital Projects Funds. Special Revenue Funds include the Basin Boards, Surface Water Improvement & Management (SWIM) Program and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Mitigation Program.

The state’s Water Protection and Sustainability Trust Fund, which was created by the Florida Legislature beginning in FY2006, will provide $15 million to the District for alternative water supply development and $2.5 million for SWIM and surface water restoration on District priority water bodies each fiscal year through FY2014.

This state funding provides matching funds to assist the District’s highly effective
partnership programs, including Water Supply and Resource Development, New
Water Sources Initiative, the Cooperative Funding Program, and the SWIM

The District’s FY2008 budget includes:

  • $120.9 million for the Water Supply and Resource Development (WSRD) program, which includes the New Water Sources Initiative, to provide matching funds for the development of sustainable, regional water supply and water resource projects. The WSRD program provides funding for projects of regional significance such as reclaimed water and storm water reuse, agricultural conservation, hydrologic restoration, storage of high river flows through off-stream reservoirs, aquifer storage and recovery systems and seawater desalination.
  • $63.5 million in cooperative funding. The Cooperative Funding Program began in 1988 and offers a 50/50 dollar cost-share for water resource projects approved by the Basin Boards. Cooperative funding is provided by the District’s Basin Boards and is available to local governments, associations and individuals for water management projects that support the District’s responsibilities of water supply, flood protection, water quality and natural systems.
  • $12.8 million for the SWIM Program. The Florida Legislature established the SWIM Program in 1987, requiring the state’s five water management districts to maintain a priority list of water bodies of regional or statewide significance. The districts develop plans and programs to improve these water bodies.

The adopted FY2008 millage rates and budgets are as follows:

FY2008 Millage Rate FY2008 Budget (millions) FY2007 Millage Rate FY2007 Budget (millions)
Total General Fund 0.3866 $194.9 0.4220 $188.1
Alafia River 0.2163 $7.6 0.2400 $8.4
Coastal Rivers 0.1885 $10.0 0.2050 $8.3
Hillsborough River 0.2547 $18.1 0.2850 $21.1
Manasota 0.1484 $25.3 0.1600 $25
Northwest Hillsborough 0.2421 $10.8 0.2680 $9.3
Peace River 0.1827 $17.8 0.1950 $16.0
Pinellas-Anclote River 0.3701 $49.3 0.4000 $41.4
Withlacoochee River 0.2308 $11.9 0.2650 $10.2
FDOT Mitigation N/A $2.0 N/A $1.8
SWIM N/A $12.8 N/A $7.4
Partnership Trust Fund N/A $0 N/A $15.1
Total Special Revenue Funds N/A $165.6 N/A $164.0
Total Capital Projects Funds N/A $34.5 N/A $31.2
Total Budget N/A $395.0 N/A $383.3

N/A = not applicable

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