Having a Voice in How Amendment 1’s Monies are Spent, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

How can Amendment 1's Water and Land Legacy monies be spent?
The Florida legislature has dubbed 2015 as the “Year of Water.” But how exactly can Amendment 1’s “Water and Land Conservation Initiative” monies be spent,  and how can we have a voice? (Water, public image.)

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.”

Money  to clean our dirty SLR/IRL water...
Money to clean our dirty SLR/IRL water…(Water, public image.)

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…

Option Lands Map SFWMD River of Grass, Option 1 is 46,800 acres and shown in brown. (SFWMD map, 2010)
Option Lands Map SFWMD River of Grass, Option 1 is 46,800 acres and shown in brown. (SFWMD map, 2010.)

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:[3]

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.[4]

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….

Let's support the SLR/IRL.
Let’s ask the legislature to support the SLR/IRL so we can have clean water…(Water, public image.)

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)

Hmmmm?

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!

(http://www.flsenate.gov/media/topics/wlc)

 

____________________________________________________________________

 

Thank you to friend, Andy Fairbanks, for forwarding the article from Tampa Bay.

Amd. 1:
(http://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Water_and_Land_Conservation_Initiative,_Amendment_1_%282014%29)

Go to (http://www.jacquithurlowlippisch.com) and search by subject for topics related to this post.

16 thoughts on “Having a Voice in How Amendment 1’s Monies are Spent, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

  1. Except for where the Amendment says that the money cannot be comingled with the state’s general revenue fund, what else can the money “not” be used for, specifically? Even providing examples of this in any implementing laws and regulations would help. For instance, the money cannot be used to build sewers or water lines. For what does a law really mean anyway, especially before it’s tested in court? In the end though, as it should be, citizens need to be actively involved in monitoring how the money is used.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Billie. I do not know the answer to that question. The language looks clear to me but I imagine to others it may be murky. I would image what is approved and not approved thought will all depend on how the law and its language is INTERPRETED and this could change and evolve over time….as you say the public’s active involvement is necessary for “success.” The failure of And 1 is disheartening to think about…

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  2. From what I am seeing the lagoon is very resilient and will come back stronger than ever. It just needs some TLC. I would like to see drainage here resemble the way it was 100 years ago but to do that you have to keep mosquitos under control. I believe this is can be done by stopping them in the dry season

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I told my friends in Ukraine that what makes democracy better than communism is not that we get to choose our leaders but that (unlike communism) we can get rid of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. In my opinion, I believe it to be of the utmost importance to get State Senator Joe Negron on board with the land purchase in the EAA. His fellow legislators will look to him on this issue. How can we help you to get Negron to “see the light”.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think before we all go to Tally we need to write something explaining to our lawmakers how imperative the flow way south is not only for us, but for the everglades, the bay and South Florida. I took some photo’s of those sea level slides at EVCO. Explain to them the whole them of the conference was to send the water south not just to help us but to protect south florida and save the water down there so people will have drinking water. Pull it all together in one happy package. Erik was right. This is not rocket science. The entire south florida depends on it.

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  5. I understand from today’s TCpalm article that our governor supports Everglades restoration but doesn’t want to buy land south of the lake to store and clean the water. Why not? Respected experts on the subject are telling us the land purchase is necessary and should be a priority. Your blog certainly helps us to understand the issues, but in the end, I am not an expert on the subject and have to pick a side based on taking the word of others. I’d sure like to know specifically why the Governor is opposed to the land purchase.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Billy—My personal opinion is that US Sugar Corporation rather NOT see the option to buy the land exercised. When it was put into place, US Sugar was going broke. Since this time, they have regained their footing. So not they do not want to sell their lands. US Sugar has been a big supporter of Gov. Scott and they probably convinced him along with Adam Putnam who heads the department of Agriculture that the better thing to do is to support projects in both Martin and Lee counties (C-43 and C-44STA/Res—nice but only for local runoff.) as well as projects in the Kissimmee River area that will “hold water” and clean water before it gets to Lake Okeechobee. Not bad ideas, but not enough to cure our ills…In order to really fix the lake/estuary problems some water must go south. The option 1 expires in October of 2015. So for me this is the reason to get the land now as later it will be “never.” for these option1 lands. At the end of the day. An option is a contract and the contract says the state can be put in on those lands whether someone “likes” it or not…

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    2. I don’t think he understands the big picture which is this is not just for us, it for the everglades, the bay and south florida’s drinking water. There is a very big picture and it really cannot big ignored.

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  6. About 7 years ago I went to BellGlade to help build a new hospital. When I was there I worked with a guy who worked for the sugar company for years.He told me that the big power plant that was being built was to burn the sugar cain leaves so that smoke would not fill the air all winter.I believe Govener Scott waunts to be known as the govener who created good paying jobs for everyone. Not the govener who stoped produceing American grown winter vegitables and sugar and then turned off the American grown fuel to the power plant.All this to provde a bird eating , python filled swamp full of mosquitos. The nutrient rich water that you guys are complaining about could be feeding millions of tons of fish.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I worked on the SouthBay GEO prison they had no temporary power . So I provided temporary power to 3 buildings using a solar power system for each building. There was no way gas generators could even begin to compete. Today Solar panels are much cheaper and even have microinverters in them so the panel puts out 110 volts AC. I think all hospitals and fire stations should at least have a small solar system on them.So much money has been waisted on bogus projects I thought I would mention at least one project that I think would start our state in the right dirrection

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was in the Bass Pro Shop in Palm Bay. When I worked a job at Whiteman AFB in Missouri I visited the original Bass Pro Shop in Springfield MO. It was not very busy so I had time to show my album and exsplain the history of what happened. I think this is a national problem and Bass Pro is a national company. Most of my school years was at Fort Walton beach and Chactawhatchy Bay Probably has the same problem as the IRL. Tomarrow I pick up things to remove abandoned crab traps.

    Liked by 1 person

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