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The Florida Senate

2005 Florida Statutes

Section 189.402, Florida Statutes 2005

189.402  Statement of legislative purpose and intent.--

(1)  It is the intent of the Legislature through the adoption of this chapter to provide general provisions for the definition, creation, and operation of special districts. It is the specific intent of the Legislature that dependent special districts shall be created at the prerogative of the counties and municipalities and that independent special districts shall only be created by legislative authorization as provided herein.

(2)  It is the intent of the Legislature through the adoption of this chapter to have one centralized location for all legislation governing special districts and to:

(a)  Improve the enforcement of statutes currently in place that help ensure the accountability of special districts to state and local governments.

(b)  Improve communication and coordination between state agencies with respect to required special district reporting and state monitoring.

(c)  Improve communication and coordination between special districts and other local entities with respect to ad valorem taxation, non-ad valorem assessment collection, special district elections, and local government comprehensive planning.

(d)  Move toward greater uniformity in special district elections and non-ad valorem assessment collection procedures at the local level without hampering the efficiency and effectiveness of the current procedures.

(e)  Clarify special district definitions and creation methods in order to ensure consistent application of those definitions and creation methods across all levels of government.

(f)  Specify in general law the essential components of any new type of special district.

(g)  Specify in general law the essential components of a charter for a new special district.

(h)  Encourage the creation of municipal service taxing units and municipal service benefit units for providing municipal services in unincorporated areas of each county.

(3)  The Legislature finds that:

(a)  There is a need for uniform, focused, and fair procedures in state law to provide a reasonable alternative for the establishment, powers, operation, and duration of independent special districts to manage and finance basic capital infrastructure, facilities, and services; and that, based upon a proper and fair determination of applicable facts, an independent special district can constitute a timely, efficient, effective, responsive, and economic way to deliver these basic services, thereby providing a means of solving the state's planning, management, and financing needs for delivery of capital infrastructure, facilities, and services in order to provide for projected growth without overburdening other governments and their taxpayers.

(b)  It is in the public interest that any independent special district created pursuant to state law not outlive its usefulness and that the operation of such a district and the exercise by the district of its powers be consistent with applicable due process, disclosure, accountability, ethics, and government-in-the-sunshine requirements which apply both to governmental entities and to their elected and appointed officials.

(c)  It is in the public interest that long-range planning, management, and financing and long-term maintenance, upkeep, and operation of basic services by independent special districts be uniform.

(4)  It is the policy of this state:

(a)  That independent special districts are a legitimate alternative method available for use by the private and public sectors, as authorized by state law, to manage, own, operate, construct, and finance basic capital infrastructure, facilities, and services.

(b)  That the exercise by any independent special district of its powers, as set forth by uniform general law comply with all applicable governmental comprehensive planning laws, rules, and regulations.

(5)  It is the legislative intent and purpose, based upon, and consistent with, its findings of fact and declarations of policy, to authorize a uniform procedure by general law to create an independent special district as an alternative method to manage and finance basic capital infrastructure, facilities, and services. It is further the legislative intent and purpose to provide by general law for the uniform operation, exercise of power, and procedure for termination of any such independent special district.

(6)  The Legislature finds that special districts serve a necessary and useful function by providing services to residents and property in the state. The Legislature finds further that special districts operate to serve a public purpose and that this is best secured by certain minimum standards of accountability designed to inform the public and appropriate general-purpose local governments of the status and activities of special districts. It is the intent of the Legislature that this public trust be secured by requiring each independent special district in the state to register and report its financial and other activities. The Legislature further finds that failure of an independent special district to comply with the minimum disclosure requirements set forth in this chapter may result in action against officers of such district board.

(7)  Realizing that special districts are created to serve special purposes, the Legislature intends through the adoption of this chapter that special districts cooperate and coordinate their activities with the units of general-purpose local government in which they are located. The reporting requirements set forth in this chapter shall be the minimum level of cooperation necessary to provide services to the citizens of this state in an efficient and equitable fashion.

(8)  The Legislature finds and declares that:

(a)  Growth and development issues transcend the boundaries and responsibilities of individual units of government, and often no single unit of government can plan or implement policies to deal with these issues without affecting other units of government.

(b)  The provision of capital infrastructure, facilities, and services for the preservation and enhancement of the quality of life of the people of this state may require the creation of multicounty and multijurisdictional districts.

History.--s. 2, ch. 89-169.