District Funds Priorities, Holds Millage Rates Steady

Dollars and Cents

Budget Pie Chart.



In the development of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 budget, the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing and Basin Boards took many factors into account.

“The budget reflects the District’s goal of providing cost-effective quality services while protecting and enhancing the public’s water resources,” said Tom Dabney, Governing Board Chair.

Millage rates in the District did not increase this year. In fact, this is the 11th year the District’s General Fund millage rate has been 0.422. The millage is used to determine the District’s budget. The millage rates for the District’s eight Basin Boards also remained the same as FY2003.

The District is “staying the financial course” to meet growing regional water supply and development needs. To do that, the District’s Governing and Basin Boards will continue to fund the District’s Regional Water Supply Plan, which requires maintaining funding of the District’s New Water Sources Initiative (NWSI), Cooperative Funding and Water Supply and Resource Development programs through 2020.

The plan used to fund the Regional Water Supply Plan is known as the “Financial Engine.”

“This budget includes dedicated funding for the Regional Water Supply Plan and Financial Engine; that’s a major step in ensuring sustainable water supplies for future generations of Floridians,” said Dabney.

The total FY2004 budget for the District is $259,439,253, an increase of $18,010,692 over the FY2003 budget. The increase is due to property values going up, not an increase in millage rates. FY2004 will run from Oct. 1, 2003, through Sept. 30, 2004.

The District’s 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, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Mitigation program and the Partnership Trust Fund.

Here are some of the highlights from the District’s FY2004 budget:

  • $40.3 million for Water Supply and Resource Development projects and reserves consistent with the Board’s direction to fund Regional Water Supply Plan projects. Based on the long-term water supply needs, the Governing and Basin Boards collectively determined that they must maintain the financial course through 2020 to meet regional water supply and resource development needs.
  • $21.5 million in New Water Sources Initiative (NWSI) funding. The NWSI funding includes $10 million in the General Fund for the 11th consecutive year of funding. The remaining $11.5 million represents Basin Boardmatching funds. This is the 10th consecutive year for Basin Board matching funds. The NWSI program provides a financial incentive for local governments to develop regional, alternative sources of water, such as reclaimed water or desalination. These alternative sources are necessary to ensure a sustainable water supply for west-central Florida.
  • $25.8 million in Cooperative Funding. The Cooperative Funding program began in 1988 and offers a 50/50 dollar cost-share for water resources projects approved by the Basin Boards. Cooperative Funding is funded by the District’s Basin Boards and is available to local governments, associations and individuals for water management projects.
  • $11.7 million for the SWIM program. The Florida Legislature established the SWIM Act 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.