(1) The department shall make no expenditures for the purpose of acquiring land for constructing, operating, or promoting a canal across the peninsula of Florida connecting the waters of the Atlantic Ocean with the waters of the Gulf of Mexico via the St. Johns River.
(2) It is declared to be in the public interest that the department shall do and is hereby authorized to do any and all things and incur and pay, for the public purposes described herein, any and all expenses necessary, convenient, and proper to:
(a) Offer any land declared to be surplus, at current appraised value, to the counties in which the surplus land lies, for acquisition for specific public purposes. Any county, at its option, may elect to acquire any lands so offered without monetary payment. The fair market value of any parcels so transferred shall be subtracted from the county’s reimbursement under paragraph (e). These offers will be made within 3 calendar months after the date the management plan is adopted and will be valid for 180 days after the date of the offer.
(b) Extend the second right of refusal, at current appraised value, to the original owner from whom the Canal Authority of the State of Florida or the United States Army Corps of Engineers acquired the land or the original owner’s heirs. These offers shall be made by public advertisement in not fewer than three newspapers of general circulation within the area of the canal route, one of which shall be a newspaper in the county in which the lands declared to be surplus are located. The public advertisements shall be run for a period of 14 days. These offers will be valid for 30 days after the expiration date of any offers made under paragraph (a), or 30 days after the date publication begins, whichever is later.
(c) Extend the third right of refusal, at current appraised value, to any person having a leasehold interest in the land from the canal authority. These offers shall be advertised as provided in paragraph (b) and will be valid for 30 days after the expiration date of the offers made under paragraph (b), or 30 days after the date publication begins, whichever is later.
(d) Offer surplus lands not purchased or transferred under paragraphs (a)-(c) to the highest bidder at public sale. Such surplus lands and the public sale shall be described and advertised in a newspaper of general circulation within the county in which the lands are located not less than 14 calendar days prior to the date on which the public sale is to be held. The current appraised value of such surplus lands will be the minimum acceptable bid.
(e) Refund to the counties of the Cross Florida Canal Navigation District moneys pursuant to this paragraph from the funds derived from the conveyance of lands of the project to the Federal Government or any agency thereof, pursuant to s. 253.781, and from the sales of surplus lands pursuant to this section. Following federal deauthorization of the project, such refunds shall consist of the $9,340,720 principal in ad valorem taxes contributed by the counties and the interest which had accrued on that amount from the time of payment to June 30, 1985. In no event shall the counties be paid less than the aggregate sum of $32 million in cash or the appraised values of the surplus lands. Such refunds shall be in proportion to the ad valorem tax share paid to the Cross Florida Canal Navigation District by the respective counties. Should the funds derived from the conveyance of lands of the project to the Federal Government for payment or from the sale of surplus land be inadequate to pay the total of the principal plus interest, first priority shall be given to repaying the principal and second priority shall be given to repaying the interest. Interest to be refunded to the counties shall be compounded annually at the following rates: 1937-1950, 4 percent; 1951-1960, 5 percent; 1961-1970, 6 percent; 1971-1975, 7 percent; 1976-June 30, 1985, 8 percent. In computing interest, amounts already repaid to the counties shall not be subject to further assessments of interest. Any partial repayments provided to the counties under this act shall be considered as contributing to the total repayment owed to the counties. Should the funds generated by conveyance to the Federal Government and sales of surplus lands be more than sufficient to repay said counties in accordance with this section, such excess funds may be used for the maintenance of the greenways corridor.
(f) Carry out the purposes of this act.