Hello again. Before I start, it is necessary quickly to review…:)
In yesterday’s blog, we discussed that when the South Florida Water Management District and the Army Corp of Engineers write or discuss “approved,” and “authorized,” projects, this does not mean they are “working on those projects” as the federal and state monies for those projects, like CERP and CEPP, may not have been “appropriated.” —Meaning the state and federal government has not given the agencies money to do the projects even though they have been “approved.” (http://www.evergladesplan.org/about/about_cerp_brief.aspx)
That’s a mouthful!
So basically, stakeholders are sitting around fighting about something that may never happen or might happen in 100 years.
Don’t get me wrong, the ACOE and SFWMD are working on projects, but not all of the 60 plus that are part of the Central Everglades Restoration Project/CERP. Rather, the agencies work and stop, work and stop, work and stop, waiting and hoping for more money to be APPROPRIATED for some of the projects, or maybe just one of the projects they are working on, before elections start up again, and the government officials change their minds!
Terrible isn’t it?
This is not the issue with Florida’s Amendment 1 monies. These monies will be here this year in 2015, and although it is not the 12 billion plus needed to accomplish CERP quoted in 2007, it is substantial monies, perhaps 700 million this year after debts, and billions over time? Amounts will depend on the real estate industry as monies come from “doc stamps on the deed:”
According to Scripps Newspapers, “The measure requires the state to set aside 33 percent of the money it raises through real-estate documentary stamp taxes to protect Florida’s environmentally sensitive areas for the next 20 years.”
These state of Florida monies, will be real and will be doled out each year by our hungry, varied, and ever-changing legislature….
It will be great to have the money, but this will be a bloody fight for the Florida legislature.
Picture throwing a steak into a gathering of starved pit bulls. This is about the scenario…
Nonetheless, our elected legislative “pit bulls “have a responsibility to listen to their contingency while they are fighting, and this is why it is absolutely necessary that we all weigh in on issues of the polluted St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and its surrounding canals; Lake Okeechobee; the purchase of US Sugar option lands for a reservoir to store, clean and convey water; and eventual type of “flow-way” south to the Everglades…
Let’s be good students and quickly review the language of Amendment 1 so we know who our competition is and how to outsmart them; I know it is always kind of boring to read this sort of language, and it is somewhat long, but read it; know it; use it to your benefit!
Amendment 1 added a Section 28 to Article X of the Florida Constitution:
SECTION 28. Land Acquisition Trust Fund. —
a) Effective on July 1 of the year following passage of this amendment by the voters, and for a period of 20 years after that effective date, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall receive no less than 33 percent of net revenues derived from the existing excise tax on documents, as defined in the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, as amended from time to time, or any successor or replacement tax, after the Department of Revenue first deducts a service charge to pay the costs of the collection and enforcement of the excise tax on documents.
b) Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes:
1) As provided by law, to finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land, water areas, and related property interests, including conservation easements, and resources for conservation lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat; wildlife management areas; lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II, Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space; rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational enjoyment of conservation lands.
2) To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to Article VII, Section 11(e).
c) The moneys deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as defined by the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, shall not be or become commingled with the General Revenue Fund of the state.
Did you read it? Did you see it? It says right there in the legal language: lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area….
A recent article about Pinellas County, near Tampa, talks about elected officials in that area taking advantage of the language and discusses their want for beach re-nourishment with the Amendment 1 money, that is also mentioned in the Amendment 1 language you just read….(http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/calls-grow-louder-for-lawmakers-to-use-amendment-1-money-for-beach-repair/2214245)
Pretend you are a legislator: “Fix Lake Okeechobee and the estuaries, or beach re-nourishment?” Get it?
So let’s compete! $$$$ Contact the Florida Senate. They have set up a web site to take our Amendment 1 requests. Just click and fill out below. Thank you for supporting our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon!
Thank you to friend, Andy Fairbanks, for forwarding the article from Tampa Bay.
Go to (http://www.jacquithurlowlippisch.com) and search by subject for topics related to this post.