Coral Springs Special Districts Fully Accountable and Transparent

Illustration by Adam Baron

Illustration by Adam Baron

By: Dave Hulett

In an article published recently in the Coral Springs Forum, Coral Springs Commissioner Dan Daley expressed concerns about the “Accountability” of the Special Districts located in Coral Springs, the method of electing their Board’s of Supervisors and once again seems to single out the Sunshine Water Control District (a drainage only district) for special attention.

We can’t tell them what to do and yet, there are a lot of issues that aren’t handled. We have a responsibility to make the water districts accountable because the city now takes the flak for their actions.” – Dan Daley to the Forum.

The large districts in Coral Springs are the Coral Springs Improvement District and the North Springs Improvement District, both of which handle water, sewer and drainage in their assigned areas.

As to the accountability issue; the districts Board‘s of Supervisors are fully accountable to the property owners in their districts at all times. They operate under the Sunshine Laws, are completely transparent, with all actions of their board’s and staff open to public inspection at any time. This is exactly the same accountability as the Coral Springs City Commission.

The method of electing board members is an open democratic process. In the case of the Sunshine Water Control District, one of the three board seats is up for election each year. Property owners in the district territory may cast a vote for each acre “or fraction thereof” (includes all homeowners) that they own. This can be done either at the annual meeting of the district, which is widely advertised or individuals seeking the seat can solicit votes via a “proxy” form.

Magic Touch

Seven years ago, the Sunshine Water Control District undertook a badly needed Capital Improvement Program. The board was faced with antiquated pump stations and main drain canals that were never dug to engineered depths of zero to minus one. The bottom of some key canals were at elevations of three to four feet, making it impossible to drain them below those depths.

As the Sunshine Capital Improvement Program began, certain members of the Coral Springs City Commission began an attack on the district’s Board of Supervisors and Staff for reasons that one can only conclude was politically motivated. Claims were made that the SWCD engineering company was vastly overpaid. Those claims were proven false.

The bottom line is that if the Sunshine Water Control District were run by the city, the city staff would have made the same recommendations to the city commission for badly needed improvements to a 50-year-old rapidly aging infrastructure.

Landowners paying taxes to the district expect that if called on in a time of heavy rain, the canal system will indeed provide the optimum amount of flood protection. That is why the Sunshine canals and ditches were dug in the first place. The city of Coral Springs would not exist without its system of drainage canals; it would still be the Everglades.

I suspect that Commissioner Daley has thrown in with his Tallahassee roommate, Senator Ring looking for an issue for what this writer suspects will be Commissioner Daley’s campaign in 2016 to replace Ring in the Florida Senate. Stay tuned!

Dave Hulett
Past President-Board of Supervisors
Sunshine Water Control District
Coral Springs

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