Today I learned that “…water funding will be Polk County’s top legislative priority for the coming session.”
Polk County is worried that the funding cuts our CEO-governor and J. D. Alexander-led legislature forced upon SWFWMD (apparently without much thought about how it would impact its ability to carry out a “core mission”, Herschel) just might mean there will be no water to assuage the county’s future thirst.
So, the county’s commissioners are going to the chief head budget czar dude of the Florida Senate, who just so happens to be Polk homeboy, J. D. Alexander, to see if he can’t get the state’s CEO to let SWFWMD generate more money. Seems the governor’s and Alexander’s now infamous and arbitrarily demanded cutbacks may have been a little too arbitrary, and SWFWMD’s water-project money might not be enough for Imperial Polk’s needs.
Please excuse my reaction:
Wonder of wonders!
Irony of ironies!
Who’d a thunk it? !!
This revelation came about when Lakeland Ledger writer, Tom Palmer, wrote about it in his blog, “Endangered and Drained In Polk” last Thursday, 9.22.11.
So, say it isn’t so, Chairman Senft. Please tell us your home county isn’t coming to the district looking for a $200,000,000 handout as I predicted back in July.
Please assure us that the basin boards were not vaporized and their members fired so J. D. could fund his hometown’s $200,000,000 water project through the now-controlled-by-the-governor-and-legislature district’s basin taxes, and that it was all just a bad dream.
Or better yet, please reinstate the Basin Boards and the legal integrity of the basins and let them decide if they want to fund Imperial Polk’s future water needs. So what, if the state CEO-governor doesn’t like making appointments (or maybe just can’t find anybody who agrees with him and he can trust). Go to him with a list of proposed appointees, and beg.
Go to each of the Commissions of the 16 counties in the district and persuade them to each pass a resolution urging the governor to support the reconstitution of the basin boards and to make the associated appointments immediately. Isn’t that his statutory duty anyway?
The basin boards can make their own decisions about the advisability of using property taxes from their respective landowners to fund Polk’s water needs. I’m certain they’ll be neighborly. The template has already been cut.
It happened for the Partnership Agreement in 1998 that settled the decades long water wars in the Tampa Bay area. Each basin board passed a resolution saying it supported the agreement for its own reasons. Some basins were hit heavily, like those directly in the Tampa Bay area because they would benefit more from the agreement than those in the outer areas who ended up contributing much less.
This is the way to get Polk’s legitimate needs met. It’s okay for the district to participate in funding the cost. It’s fair. But the decision needs to be made from the bottom up, not from any CEO-governor or CEO-senator down.