Thursday, May 26, 2011

Internal emails to Basin Board Members announcing their demise

Dear Friend,
Please note the two emails below sent yesterday (5/24/11) and the day before from the District apparently to all SWFWMD basin board members.  If you’re like me, other than getting the sense that something really bad is about happen to the process of water management within SWFWMD, you are otherwise probably not quite ready to decide just what to make of it all.  But having said as much, it seems increasingly clear the Governor is taking advice from somebody who hasn’t a clue as to what they’re about to wreak upon our part of Florida.

Nevertheless, perhaps concerns should be limited at this point to the way in which this was handled without public notice or input and the lack of consideration for alternative actions that could achieve the conservative principles we all want and hope for, short of taking a machete to the workhorse.  At least one governing board member stated to me today that they made the decision because, “they had no choice.”  The word from Tallahassee was, “Do it or we’ll do it for you.”   To which one can only wish the response had been, “Then, you do it.”  I was also told by a basin board member that while there had been rumors in the air and casual conversations, there had been no meetings or written notices to them in any formal fashion indicating specifically what was about to happen.

More just wishful thinking perhaps but in my humble and largely irrelevant opinion, one might hope that at its very next meeting the Governing Board might gather up its discarded fortitude, rescind the errant resolution and tell Tallahassee unequivocally to reform itself first before messing with something that has worked remarkably well for fifty years.


From: Lou Kavouras []
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 4:17 PM
Subject: Governing Board Merges Basin Boards

Dear Basin Board Members –

The Governing Board approved a resolution during their meeting today to merge the Basin Boards and their functions into the District, effective May 31, 2011. Therefore, all scheduled Basin Board meetings have been cancelled, including the Basin Board Land Resources and Basin Board Education Committee meetings. Over the next several days I will be contacting each of you by phone to discuss this matter further, if you desire.

Comments were made about the importance of the local perspective the Basin Boards have provided over the years, and there is a lot of interest in continuing local outreach in the future. The Governing Board is now faced with establishing protocols for the expenditure of reserves that were collected in the Basins, and considering their options to administer Basin projects and consider future funding requests going forward. I will keep you apprised as these budgetary and logistical details are worked out.
It has been my absolute pleasure working with all of you. We truly appreciate the time, expertise and commitment you have given over the years and I look forward to speaking with each of you soon. In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact me. – Lou.
Lou KavourasDeputy Executive Director1-352-796-7211 (x4606)

From: Lou Kavouras
Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011 3:02 PM
To:Subject: Governing Board to Discuss Basin Board Options Tomorrow

Dear Basin Board Members –
As you know, Governor Scott has not appointed or reappointed Basin Board members since his term began, resulting in two Basin Boards that have not been constituted since last August (Manasota and Withlacoochee River).  Additionally, he rescinded eight Governor Crist appointments that did not receive Senate confirmation during the 2010 Legislative Session. The eight Board members in the rescinded seats will no longer be able to serve after June 20th at which time four more Boards will not be constituted (Alafia River, Coastal Rivers, Pinellas-Anclote River, and Peace River). The last Basin Board (Hillsborough River) will not be constituted after August 31st when eight additional Basin Board seats are scheduled to expire.
On top of that we are also preparing for budget reductions that could approach 35% for the District and examining the role of the Basin Boards relative to the reductions. Therefore, in light of the budget and lack of appointments, the Governing Board will discuss at least three Basin options as outlined below at tomorrow’s Board meeting in Brooksville.

·        Option 1 – merge all Basins and consolidate them into the District.
·        Option 2 – hold Basin Board meetings in June as scheduled and have them adopt a budget and millage for the next fiscal year to be included in the District budget
·        Option 3 – hold no further Basin meetings and levy no additional Basin taxes.

We expect the Governing Board to make a final decision relative to the Basin Boards at tomorrow’s meeting. If Option 1 or 3 is chosen, we will cancel the June Basin Board meetings and the July Basin Board Land Resources and Basin Board Education Committee meetings. I will let you know the outcome so that you can plan accordingly. Give me a call if you have any questions. – Lou.

Lou Kavouras
Deputy Executive Director
1-352-796-7211 (x4606)

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