By Kevin Deutsch
A package of water district election bills sponsored by State Rep. Dan Daley (D-Coral Springs) were signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday, potentially creating new rules in local board elections.
Water districts were established in Florida in the 1960s to provide water control services to residents. Daley’s bills would change how Special Taxing District board members are elected, from election by landowners to election by popular vote among ratepayers.
Residents would still have to approve the changes by referendum during the 2022 general election.
The local water districts impacted by the law serve over 40,000 residents in Coral Springs and Parkland. They include the Coral Springs Improvement District (HB 1495 ), Pine Tree Water Control District (HB 1499), Sunshine Drainage District (HB 1501 ), and North Springs Improvement District (HB 1503).
Special Taxing Districts can have multimillion-dollar budgets – along with powers to increase rates and fees on ratepayers – with varying levels of transparency.
For example, the Coral Springs Improvement District has a $20 million budget this year and can levy taxes, special assessments, and fees.
“By moving to a popular 1 person, 1 vote election, we are increasing accountability and transparency of these districts, many of which have a multi-million dollar budget,” Daley said.
Daley serves as State Representative for District 97 in the Florida House of Representatives and represents Coral Springs, Tamarac, Sunrise, and Plantation.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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