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2010 Florida Statutes

CHAPTER 153
CHAPTER 153
WATER AND SEWER SYSTEMS
COUNTY WATER SYSTEM AND SANITARY SEWER FINANCING
(ss. 153.01-153.20)
COUNTY WATER AND SEWER DISTRICTS
(ss. 153.50-153.88)
WASTEWATER FACILITY PRIVATIZATION CONTRACTS
(ss. 153.90-153.94)
LOCAL GOVERNMENT UTILITIES ASSISTANCE
(ss. 153.951-153.955)
COUNTY WATER SYSTEM AND SANITARY
SEWER FINANCING
153.01 Short title.
153.02 Definitions.
153.03 General grant of power.
153.04 Construction of water supply systems, water system improvements, sewage disposal systems, and sewer improvements.
153.05 Water system improvements and sanitary sewers; special assessments.
153.06 Issuance of bonds.
153.07 General obligation bonds.
153.08 Water and sewer district general obligation bonds.
153.09 Water revenue bonds and sewer revenue bonds.
153.091 Combined systems; issuance of bonds.
153.10 Call for bids.
153.11 Water service charges and sewer service charges; revenues.
153.12 Collection of charges.
153.13 Application of revenues.
153.14 Trust funds.
153.15 Remedies.
153.16 Water revenue refunding bonds.
153.17 Sewer revenue refunding bonds.
153.18 Exemption of property from taxation.
153.19 Private water supplies.
153.20 Alternative method.
153.01 Short title.This part shall be known and may be cited as the “County Water System and Sanitary Sewer Financing Law.”
History.s. 1, ch. 29837, 1955.
153.02 Definitions.As used in this part the following words and terms shall have the following meanings unless some other meaning is plainly indicated:
(1) The word “county” shall mean any of the several counties of the state operating under the authority granted by this chapter.
(2) The term “county commission” or the word “commission” shall mean the board of county commissioners of any county operating under the powers granted by this chapter.
(3) The term “water system” shall mean and shall include any plant, wells, pipes, tanks, reservoirs, system, facility, or property used or useful or having the present capacity for future use in connection with the obtaining and supplying water and alternative water supplies, including, but not limited to, reclaimed water and water from aquifer storage and recovery and desalination systems, for human consumption, fire protection, irrigation, consumption by business, or consumption by industry, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing definition shall embrace all necessary appurtenances and equipment and shall include all property, rights, easements and franchises relating to any such system and deemed necessary or convenient for the operation thereof.
(4) The term “water system improvements” shall include all water pipes or lines, valves, meters, and other water-supplying equipment within the county other than such equipment as constitute a part of the water supply system and shall embrace water mains and laterals for the carrying of water to the premises connected therewith and for carrying such water from some part of the water supply system.
(5) The term “sewage disposal system” shall mean and shall include any plant, system, facility, or property used or useful or having the present capacity for future use in connection with the collection, treatment, purification, or disposal of sewage, or reuse of wastewater, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing definition shall embrace treatment plants, pumping stations, intercepting sewers, pressure lines, mains, and all necessary appurtenances and equipment and shall include all property, rights, easements, and franchises relating to any such system and deemed necessary or convenient for the operation thereof.
(6) The term “sewer improvements” shall include all sanitary sewers within the county other than such mains and lines as constitute a part of a sewage disposal system, and shall embrace sewer mains and laterals for the reception of sewage from premises connected therewith and for carrying such sewage to some part of the sewage disposal system or for the distribution of reclaimed sewage for reuse.
(7) The word “facility” shall mean such water systems, sewage disposal systems, water system improvements and/or sewer improvements or additions thereto as are defined by this chapter.
(8) The word “cost” as applied to a water supply system or extensions or additions thereto or to water supply improvements or to a sewage disposal system or extensions or additions thereto or to sewer improvements shall include the cost of construction or reconstruction, the cost of all labor, materials, machinery and equipment, the cost of all lands, property, rights, easements and franchises acquired, financing charges, interest prior to and during construction and for 1 year after completion of construction, cost of plans and specifications, surveys of estimates of costs and of revenues, cost of engineering and legal services, and all other expenses necessary or incident to determining the feasibility or practicability of such construction or reconstruction, administrative expense and such other expense as may be necessary or incident to the financing herein authorized. Any obligation or expense heretofore or hereafter incurred by the county in connection with any of the foregoing terms of cost may be regarded as a part of such cost and reimbursed to the county out of the proceeds of bonds issued under the provisions of this chapter.
(9) The term “water revenue bonds” shall mean special obligations of the county which are payable solely from water service charges and which shall in no way pledge the property, credit, or general tax revenue of the county.
(10) The term “sewer revenue bonds” shall mean special obligations of the county which are payable solely from sewer service charges and which in no way pledge the property, credit, or general tax revenue of the county.
(11) The term “general obligation bonds” shall mean general obligations of the county which are payable from unlimited ad valorem taxes or from such taxes and additionally secured by a pledge of water service charges or sewer service charges or special assessments, or all of them.
(12) The word “bonds” shall include water revenue bonds, sewer revenue bonds, and general obligation bonds.
(13) The word “sewage” shall include any substance that contains any of the waste products, excrement or other discharge from the bodies of human beings or animals as well as such other wastes as normally emanate from dwelling houses.
History.s. 2, ch. 29837, 1955; s. 3, ch. 93-51; s. 2, ch. 95-323.
153.03 General grant of power.Any of the several counties of the state which may hereafter come under the provisions of this chapter as hereinafter provided is hereby authorized and empowered:
(1) To purchase and/or construct and to improve, extend, enlarge, and reconstruct a water supply system or systems or sewage disposal system or systems, or both, within such county and any adjoining county or counties and to purchase and/or construct or reconstruct water system improvements or sewer improvements, or both, within such county and any adjoining county or counties and to operate, manage and control all such systems so purchased and/or constructed and all properties pertaining thereto and to furnish and supply water and sewage collection and disposal services to any of such counties and to any municipalities and any persons, firms or corporations, public or private, in any of such counties; provided, however, that none of the facilities provided by this chapter may be constructed, owned, operated or maintained by the county on property located within the corporate limits of any municipality without the consent of the council, commission or body having general legislative authority in the government of such municipality unless such facilities were owned by the county on such property prior to the time such property was included within the corporate limits of such municipality. No county shall furnish any of the facilities provided by this chapter to any property already being furnished like facilities by any municipality without the express consent of the council, commission or body having general legislative authority in the government of such municipality.
(2) To issue water revenue bonds and/or sewer revenue bonds or general obligation bonds of the county to pay all or a part of the cost of such purchase and/or construction or reconstruction.
(3) To fix and collect rates, fees and other charges for the service and facilities furnished by any such water supply system or water system improvements and sewage disposal system or sewer improvements and to fix and collect charges for making connections with the water system of the county.
(4) To receive and accept from the Federal Government or any agency thereof grants for or in aid of the planning, purchase, construction, reconstruction, or financing of any facility and to receive and accept contributions from any source of either money, property, labor, or other things of value to be held, used, and applied only for the purpose for which such grants and contributions may be made.
(5) To acquire in the name of the county by gift, purchase as hereinafter provided or by the exercise of the right of eminent domain, such lands and rights and interests therein, including lands under water and riparian rights, and to acquire such personal property as it may deem necessary for the efficient operation or for the extension of or the improvement of any facility purchased or constructed under the provisions of this chapter and to hold and dispose of all real and personal property under its control; provided, however, that no county shall have the right to exercise the right of eminent domain over any such lands or rights or interests therein or any personal property owned by any municipality within the state nor to exercise such right with respect to any privately owned water supply system or sewage disposal system including without limitation ponds, streams and surface waters constituting a part thereof, provided any such system is primarily used, owned or operated by an industrial or manufacturing plant for its own use as a water supply system or in disposing of its industrial wastes.
(6) To make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under this chapter and to employ such consulting and other engineers, superintendents, managers, construction and accounting experts and attorneys and such other employees and agents as it may deem necessary in its judgment and to fix their compensation.
(7) Subject to the provisions and restrictions as may be set forth in the resolution hereinafter mentioned authorizing or securing any bonds issued under the provisions of this chapter to enter into contracts with the government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof or with any other county or with any municipality, private corporation, copartnership, association, or individual providing for or relating to the acquisition and supplying of water and the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage.
(8) To acquire by gift or purchase at a price to be mutually agreed upon, any of the facilities or portions thereof, provided for by this chapter, which shall, prior to such acquisition, have been owned by any private person, group, firm, partnership, association or corporation; provided, however, if the price for same cannot be agreed upon, the price shall be determined by an arbitration board consisting of three persons, one of whom shall be selected by the board of county commissioners, one shall be appointed by the private company or corporation, and the two persons so selected shall select a third member of said board; and provided, further, that in the event said board cannot agree as to the price to be paid by the said board of county commissioners, then the board of county commissioners shall exercise the right of eminent domain.
(9) To enter into agreements and contracts with building contractors erecting improvements within any duly platted subdivision within the county, the terms of which said agreements or contracts may provide that such building contractors shall install within such subdivision water mains, lines and equipment and sewer mains and lines, to be approved by the county commission, said mains and lines to run to a point or location to be agreed upon, at which said point or location said mains and lines shall be connected to the water supply system or water system improvements and/or to the sewage disposal system or sewer improvements of the county. In the event such agreements or contracts are entered into they shall provide that upon the connection of the mains or lines within the subdivision to the water or sewer facilities of the county said mains, lines and equipment running to the various privately owned parcels of land within such subdivision shall become the property of the county and shall become a part of the county water system improvements and/or sewer improvements.
(10) To restrain, enjoin or otherwise prevent any person or corporation, public or private, from contaminating or polluting (as defined in 1s. 387.08) any source of water supply from which is obtained water for human consumption to be used in any water supply system or water system improvement as authorized by this chapter, and to restrain, enjoin or otherwise prevent the violation of any provision of this chapter or any resolution, rule or regulation adopted pursuant to the powers granted by this chapter; provided, however, that this chapter shall not apply to or affect any existing contract that a municipality may have for water or sewage disposal without the consent of both parties to said contract but this subsection shall not authorize the institution or prosecution of any proceeding hereunder nor the adoption of any resolution, rule or regulation which shall in anywise affect the right of any industrial or manufacturing plant to discharge industrial waste into any nonnavigable or navigable waters unless such waters are now being used or are hereafter used hereunder as a source of water for human consumption and unless the industrial wastes of any such plant are not being discharged into such waters prior to the time that action is taken by the commission under this chapter to include such water as a part of any water supply system.
(11) To acquire by gift or purchase, at such price, and upon such deferred or other terms, as may be mutually agreed upon, all the capital stock of any domestic or foreign corporation which, prior to such acquisition, shall have owned or operated any of the facilities or portions thereof provided for by this chapter; to pledge the revenues from the facilities as security for payment of the purchase price for said stock; and to operate the facilities through the corporation so acquired or to dissolve said corporation and operate the facilities in any other manner authorized by law.
History.s. 3, ch. 29837, 1955; s. 1, ch. 57-774; ss. 1, 2, ch. 57-1985; s. 1, ch. 77-187.
1Note.Repealed by s. 125, ch. 97-237.
153.04 Construction of water supply systems, water system improvements, sewage disposal systems, and sewer improvements.Whenever the county commission of any of the several counties of the state by resolution chooses to exercise the powers granted by this chapter it shall make or cause to be made such surveys, investigations, studies, borings, maps, plans, drawings and estimates of costs and of revenues as it may deem necessary to prepare or have prepared so that such county commission shall have available to it a comprehensive study and report setting forth either or both of the following:
(1) The type and estimate of costs of each water supply system, the purchase or construction of which shall be deemed by it to be desirable and feasible, together with the location thereof, and of each integral part, and also setting forth what water system improvements, if any, it deems necessary to purchase or construct to protect the health of and render fire protection to the inhabitants of the county, together with the location by terminal points and route of each such improvement, a description thereof by its material, nature, character and size and an estimate of the cost of its purchase or construction.
(2)(a) The type of treatment and estimate of cost of each sewage disposal plant or system, the purchase, or construction of which shall be deemed by the county commission to be desirable and feasible, together with the location thereof and of each integral part, and also setting forth what sewer improvements, if any, it deems necessary to purchase or construct to protect the health of the inhabitants of the county, together with the location by terminal points and route of each such improvement, a description thereof by its material, nature, character, and size and an estimate of the cost of its purchase or construction.
(b) If such study and report reveals, or if it is a fact that any parcel, plot or area of land proposed to be served by county-owned and operated facilities as contemplated by this chapter is being served or there is available to it for service such facilities which are owned and operated by private individuals, copartnerships, corporations or associations, then the county is hereby prohibited from furnishing the facilities provided by this chapter to such property without the written consent of the owner or owners of such privately owned facilities.
(c) The obtaining of such surveys, investigations, studies, borings, maps, plans, drawings and estimates is hereby declared to be a county purpose and the costs thereof may be paid out of the general funds of the county.
(d) Upon receipt of such report the county commission may authorize the purchase and/or construction of such facilities as it may deem feasible and practicable.
(e) All public or private property damaged or destroyed in carrying out the powers granted by this chapter shall be restored or repaired and placed in its original condition as nearly as practicable or adequate compensation made therefor out of the funds provided by this chapter.
(f) The state hereby consents to the use of all state lands lying under water which are necessary for the accomplishments or purposes of this chapter.
History.s. 4, ch. 29837, 1955.
153.05 Water system improvements and sanitary sewers; special assessments.
(1) Any county may provide for the construction or reconstruction of a facility and for the levying of special assessments upon benefited property under the provisions of this section. The initial proceeding hereunder shall be the passage at any lawful meeting of the commission of a resolution ordering the construction or reconstruction of such facility under and subject to the provisions of this section, indicating the location by terminal points and route and either giving a description of the improvements by its material, nature, character, and size or giving two or more such descriptions with the direction that the material, nature, character, and size shall be subsequently determined in conformity with one of such descriptions. Water system improvements or sewer improvements need not be continuous and may be in more than one locality or street. The resolution ordering any such improvement may give any short and convenient designation to each improvement ordered thereby, after which it shall be sufficient to refer to such improvement and property by such designation in all proceedings and assessments, except in the notices provided by subsections (3) and (4).
(2)(a) As soon as may be after the passage of such resolution, the engineer for the county shall prepare in duplicate plans and specifications of each improvement ordered thereby and an estimate of the cost thereof. Such cost may include, in addition to the items of cost set forth in s. 153.02(8), the cost of relaying streets and sidewalks necessarily torn up or damaged and shall include the following items of incidental expense:
1. Printing and publishing of notices and proceedings and costs of abstracts of title; and
2. Any other expense necessary or proper in conducting the proceedings and work provided for in this section.
(b) If the resolution shall provide alternative descriptions of material, nature, character, and size, such estimate shall include an estimate of the cost of the improvement of each such description.
(c) The engineer shall also prepare in duplicate a tentative apportionment of the estimated cost as between the county and each lot or parcel of land subject to special assessment under the resolution, such apportionment to be made in accordance with the provisions of the resolution and the provisions of subsection (6) in relation to apportionment of cost in the preliminary assessment roll. Such tentative apportionment of estimated cost shall not be held to limit or restrict the duties of the engineer in the preparation of such preliminary assessment roll. One of the duplicates of such plans, specifications, and estimate and such tentative apportionment shall be filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county and the other duplicate shall be retained by the engineer in his or her files, all thereof to remain open to public inspection.
(3) The county commission upon the filing with it of such plans, specifications, estimate, and tentative apportionment of cost shall publish once in a newspaper published in the county a notice stating that at a regular meeting of the commission on a certain day and hour, not earlier than 10 days from such publication, the commission will hear objections of all interested persons to the confirmation of such resolution, which notice shall state in brief and general terms a description of the proposed improvement with the location thereof and shall also state that plans, specifications, estimate, and tentative apportionment of cost thereof are on file in the office of such clerk. The commission shall keep a record in which shall be inscribed, at the request of any person, firm, or corporation having or claiming to have an interest in any lot or parcel of land, the name and post office address of such person, firm, or corporation, together with a brief description or designation of such lot or parcel; and it shall be the duty of the commission to mail a copy of such notice to such person, firm, or corporation at such address, at least 10 days before the time for the hearing as stated in such notice, but the failure of the commission to keep such record or so to inscribe any name or address or to mail any such notice shall not constitute a valid objection to holding the hearing as provided in this section or to any other action taken under the authority of this section.
(4) At the time named in such notice, or to which an adjournment may be taken by the commission, the commission shall receive any objections of interested persons and may then or thereafter repeal or confirm such resolution with such amendments, if any, as may be desired by the commission and which do not cause any additional property to be specially assessed.
(5) All objections to any such resolution on the ground that it contains items which cannot be properly assessed against property, or that it is, for any default or defect in the passage or character of the resolution or the plans or specifications or estimate, void or voidable in whole or in part, or that it exceeds the power of the commission, shall be made in writing, in person or by attorney, and filed with the commission at or before the time or adjourned time of such hearing. Any objections against the making of any improvement not so made shall be considered as waived, and if an objection shall be made and overruled or shall not be sustained, the confirmation of the resolution shall be the final adjudication of the issues presented unless proper steps shall be taken in a court of competent jurisdiction to secure relief within 10 days.
(6) Promptly after the completion of the work, the engineer for the county shall prepare a preliminary assessment roll and file same with the clerk, which roll shall contain the following:
(a) A description of the lots and parcels of land within the district, which shall include all lots and parcels which abut upon the sides of that part of any street in which a water supply system, water system improvement, or sanitary sewer, except a curb sewer, is to be constructed or reconstructed; all lots and parcels which abut upon the side or sides of any street in or along which side or sides a sanitary curb sewer shall have been constructed or reconstructed; and all lots and parcels which are served or are to be served by such water supply system, water system improvement, or sanitary sewer. Such lots and parcels shall include all property, whether publicly or privately owned. There may also be given, in the discretion of the engineer, the name of the owner of record of each lot or parcel, where practicable, and in all cases there shall be given a statement of the number of feet of property so abutting, which number of feet shall be known as frontage.
(b) The total cost of the improvement and the amount of incidental expense.
(c) An apportionment as between the county and the property included in the preliminary assessment roll of the cost of each improvement, including incidental expense, to be computed as follows:
1. To each lot or parcel of land, to the property or curb line of which a water supply lateral or sanitary sewer lateral shall have been laid, shall be apportioned the cost of such lateral or laterals.
2. To abutting property shall be apportioned according to frontage, or any other method being deemed equitable by the commission, all or any part of the cost of such water system improvements or sewer improvements as may be fixed by resolution ordering the improvements.
3. To the county shall be apportioned the remaining costs of the water system improvements or sewer improvements, unless all of such costs shall be apportioned to the abutting property; provided, however, that in the case of lots or parcels which abut on more than one street or which are served or are to be served by such water system improvements or sewer improvements although not abutting on either side of the street in which such improvement is constructed, the apportionment shall be made under such rules and regulations as the commission shall deem to be fair and equitable.
(7) The preliminary roll shall be advisory only and shall be subject to the action of the commission as hereinafter provided. Upon the filing with the commission of the preliminary assessment roll, the commission shall publish once in a newspaper published in the county a notice stating that at a meeting of the commission to be held on a certain day and hour, not less than 12 days from the date of such publication, which meeting may be a regular, adjourned or special meeting, all interested persons may appear and file written objections to the confirmation of such roll. Such notice shall state the class of the improvement and the location thereof by terminal points and route. Such meeting of the commission shall be the first regular meeting following the completion of the notice hereinabove required, unless the commission shall have provided for a special meeting for such purpose.
(8) At the time and place stated in such notice, the commission shall meet and receive the objections in writing of all interested persons as stated in such notice. The commission may adjourn the hearing from time to time. After the completion thereof, the commission shall either annul or sustain or modify in whole or in part the prima facie assessment as indicated on such roll, either by confirming the prima facie assessment against any and all lots or parcels described therein, or by canceling, increasing, or reducing the same, according to the special benefits which the commission decides each such lot or parcel has received or will receive on account of such improvement. If any property which may be chargeable under this section shall have been omitted from the preliminary roll or if the prima facie assessment shall not have been made against it, the commission may place on such roll an apportionment to such property. The commission shall not confirm any assessment in excess of the special benefits to the property assessed, and the assessments so confirmed shall be in proportion to the special benefits. Forthwith after such confirmation, such assessment roll shall be delivered to the county property appraiser. The assessment so made shall be final and conclusive as to each lot or parcel assessed unless proper steps be taken within 10 days in a court of competent jurisdiction to secure relief. If the assessment against any property shall be sustained or reduced or abated by the court, the county property appraiser shall note that fact on the assessment roll opposite the description of the property affected thereby. The amount of the special assessment against any lot or parcel which may be abated by the court, unless the assessment upon the entire district is abated, or the amount by which such assessment is so reduced, may be, by resolution of the commission made chargeable against the county at large; or, in the discretion of the commission, a new assessment roll may be prepared and confirmed in the manner hereinabove provided for the preparation and confirmation of the original assessment roll.
(9) Any assessment may be paid at the office of the county tax collector within 30 days after the confirmation thereof, without interest. Thereafter all assessments shall be payable in equal annual installments, with interest at 8 percent per year, or, if bonds are issued pursuant to this chapter, at a rate not to exceed 1 percent above the rate of interest at which the improvement bonds authorized pursuant to this chapter and used for improvements are sold, from the expiration of said 30 days in each of the succeeding 20 calendar years at the time or times in each year at which the general county taxes are payable; however, the commission may by resolution fix a shorter period of payment for any assessment; further, any assessment may be paid at any time before due, together with interest accrued thereon to the date of payment.
(10) All assessment shall constitute a lien upon the property so assessed from the date of confirmation of the resolution ordering the improvement, of the same nature and to the same extent as the lien for general county taxes falling due in the same year or years in which such assessment or installments thereof fall due, and any assessment or installment not paid when due shall be collectible in the same manner and at the same time as such general taxes are or may be collectible, with the same attorney’s fee, interest, and penalties and under the same provisions as to forfeiture and the right of the county to purchase the property assessed as are or may be provided by law in the case of county taxes; provided, however, that no such sale of any property for general county taxes or for an installment or installments of any such assessment and no perfecting of title under any such sale shall divest the lien of any installment of such assessment not due at the time of the sale. Collection of such assessments, with such interest and with a reasonable attorney’s fee and costs, but without penalties, may also be made by the county by proceedings in a court of equity to foreclose the lien of assessments as a lien for mortgages is or may be foreclosed under the laws of the state; or by an action in rem in the manner provided by law for the foreclosure and collection of ad valorem taxes; provided that any such proceedings to foreclose shall embrace all installments of principal remaining unpaid with accrued interest thereon, which installments shall, by virtue of the institution of such proceedings, immediately become and be due and payable. Nevertheless, if, prior to any sale of the property under decree of foreclosure in such proceedings, payment be made of the installment or installments which are shown to be due under the provisions of the resolution passed pursuant to subsection (9), with interest as required by said subsection and by this subsection (10) and all costs including attorney’s fee, such payment shall have the effect of restoring the remaining installments to their original maturities as provided by the resolution passed pursuant to subsection (9), and the proceedings shall be dismissed. It shall be the duty of the county to enforce the prompt collection of assessments by one or the other of the means herein provided, and such duty may be enforced at the suit of any holder of bonds issued under this chapter in a court of competent jurisdiction by mandamus or other appropriate proceedings or action. Not later than 30 days after the annual sale of property for delinquent taxes of the county, or if such property or taxes are not sold by the county, then within 60 days after such taxes become delinquent, it shall be the duty of the commission to direct the attorney or attorneys whom the commission shall then designate, to institute actions within 3 months after such direction to enforce the collection of all special assessments for local improvements made under this section and remaining due and unpaid at the time of such direction (unless theretofore sold at tax sale). Such action shall be prosecuted in the manner and under the conditions in and under which mortgages are foreclosed under the laws of the state. It shall be lawful to join in one action the collection of assessments against any or all property assessed by virtue of the same assessment roll unless the court shall deem such joinder prejudicial to the interest of any defendant. The court shall allow a reasonable attorney’s fee for the attorney or attorneys of the county, and the same shall be collectible as a part of or in addition to the costs of the action. At any sale pursuant to decree in any such action, the county may be a purchaser to the same extent as an individual person or corporation, except that the part of the purchase price represented by the assessments sued upon and the interest thereon need not be paid in cash. Property so acquired by a county, including the certificate of sale thereof, may be sold or otherwise disposed of, for cash or upon terms, the proceeds of such disposition to be placed in the fund provided by subsection (11); provided, however, that no sale or other disposition thereof shall be made unless notice calling for bids therefor to be received at a stated time and place shall have been published in a newspaper published in the county one time at least 1 week prior to such disposition.
(11) All assessments and charges made under the provisions of this section for the payment of all or any part of the cost of any sewer improvement or improvements for which bonds shall have been issued under the provisions of this chapter, are hereby pledged to the payment of the principal of and the interest on such bonds and shall when collected be placed in a separate fund, properly designated, which fund shall be used for no other purpose than the payment of such principal and interest.
(12) Each school district and other political subdivision wholly or partly within the county and each public agency or instrumentality owning property within the county shall possess the same power and be subject to the same duties and liabilities in respect of assessment under this section affecting the real estate of such county, district, political subdivision, or public agency or instrumentality which private owners of real estate possess or are subject to hereunder; and such real estate shall be subject to liens for said assessments in all cases where the same property would be subject had it at the time the lien attached been owned by a private owner.
History.s. 5, ch. 29837, 1955; s. 1, ch. 57-323; ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, ch. 67-547; s. 2, ch. 76-148; s. 1, ch. 77-102; s. 7, ch. 82-195; s. 863, ch. 95-147.
153.06 Issuance of bonds.
(1) The county commission is hereby authorized to provide by resolution at one time or from time to time for the issuance of either water revenue bonds, sewer revenue bonds, or general obligation bonds of the county for the purpose of paying all or any part of the cost of any one or more of the following:
(a) A water supply system or systems;
(b) Extensions and additions thereto;
(c) Water system improvements;
(d) A sewage disposal system or systems;
(e) Extensions and additions thereto; and
(f) Sewer improvements.

The bonds of each issue shall be dated, shall bear interest at such rate or rates not exceeding 7.5 percent per annum, shall mature at such time or times not exceeding 50 years from their date or dates as may be determined by the county commission, and may be made redeemable before maturity at the option of the county at such price or prices and under such terms and conditions as may be fixed by the county commission prior to the issuance of the bonds.

(2) The county commission shall determine the form of the bonds including any interest coupons to be attached thereto, and the manner of the execution of the bonds and shall fix the denomination or denominations of the bonds and place or places of payment of principal or interest which may be at any bank or trust company within or without the state. In case any officer whose signature or facsimile of whose signature shall appear on any bonds or coupons shall cease to be such officer before the delivery of such bonds, such signature or such facsimile shall nevertheless be valid and sufficient for all purposes the same as if the officer had remained in office until such delivery.
(3) All bonds issued under the provisions of this chapter shall have and are hereby declared to have all the qualities and incidents of negotiable instruments. Bonds may be issued in coupon or in registered form or both as the county commission may determine and provision may be made for the registration of any coupon bonds as to principal alone and also as to both principal and interest and for the reconversion into coupon bonds of any bonds registered as to bond principal and interest.
(4) No sale of bonds shall be made at a price so low as to require the payment of interest on the money received therefor at more than 7.5 percent per annum computed with relation to the absolute maturity of the bonds in accordance with the standard tables of bond values, excluding, however, from such computations the amount of any premium to be paid on redemption of any bonds prior to maturity. Prior to the preparation of definitive bonds, the county may, under like restrictions, issue interim receipts or temporary bonds with or without coupons exchangeable for definitive bonds when such bonds have been executed and are available for delivery. The county commission may also provide for the replacement of any bonds which shall become mutilated or be destroyed or lost.
(5) Bonds may be issued under the provisions of this chapter without obtaining the consent of any commission, board, bureau or agency of the state and without the proceeding or happening of any other condition or thing than those proceedings, conditions or things which are specifically required by this chapter.
(6) The proceeds of such bonds shall be used solely for the payment of costs of the water supply system or systems or the water system improvements or the sewage disposal system or systems or the sewer improvements, for the purchase, construction or reconstruction of which such bonds shall have been authorized, and shall be disbursed in such manner and under such restrictions, if any, as the county commission may provide in the authorizing resolution. If the proceeds of such bonds, by error of estimates or otherwise shall be less than such costs, additional bonds may in like manner be issued to provide the amount of such deficit and unless otherwise provided in the authorizing resolution shall be deemed to be of the same issue and shall be entitled to payment from the same fund without preference or priority of the bonds first issued for the same purpose. If the proceeds of the bonds of any issue shall exceed the amount required for the purpose for which such bonds shall have been issued, the surplus shall be paid into the fund provided under the provisions of this chapter for the payment of principal of and the interest on such bonds.
History.s. 6, ch. 29837, 1955; s. 5, ch. 67-547; ss. 3, 4, ch. 73-302; s. 4, ch. 80-98; s. 864, ch. 95-147.
153.07 General obligation bonds.
(1) No general obligation bonds shall be issued by county unless the issuance of such bonds shall be approved by a majority of the votes that are cast in an election in which a majority of the freeholders who are qualified electors residing in the county shall participate. Such election shall be called, noticed and conducted and the result thereof determined and declared in the manner required by law for the issuance of bonds of the county.
(2) For the payment of the principal and the interest on any general obligation bonds of the county issued under the provisions of this chapter, the county commission is hereby authorized and required to levy annually a special tax upon all taxable property within the county over and above all other taxes authorized or limited by law sufficient to pay such principal and interest as the same respectively become due and payable, and the proceeds of all such taxes shall when collected be paid into a special fund and used for no other purpose than the payment of such principal and interest; provided, however, that there may be pledged to the payment of such principal and interest the proceeds of such water service charges and/or sewer service charges, and in the event of such pledge the amount of the annual tax levy herein required may be reduced in any year by the amount of such proceeds actually received in the preceding year and then remaining on deposit to the credit of such fund for the payment of such principal and interest.
History.s. 7, ch. 29837, 1955; s. 6, ch. 67-547.
153.08 Water and sewer district general obligation bonds.
(1) The county commission is hereby authorized to establish within the county such water and sewer districts as it may deem necessary. For the purpose of providing for and financing the facilities provided for in this chapter, general obligation bonds may be issued covering the facilities located in such district and to be paid by general ad valorem taxes levied in and collected from such district or districts; provided, however, that no such general obligation bonds for such district or districts shall be issued by the county unless the issuance of such bonds shall be approved by a majority of the votes in an election in which a majority of the freeholders who are qualified electors residing in such district or districts shall participate. Such election shall be called, noticed and conducted and the result thereof determined and declared in the manner required by law for the issuance of bonds of the county.
(2) For the payment of the principal and interest thereon on any such general obligation bonds issued for the benefit of such district or districts issued under the provisions of this chapter the county commission is hereby authorized and required to levy annually a special tax upon all taxable property within the said district or districts over and above all other taxes authorized or limited by law sufficient to pay such principal and interest as the same respectively becomes due and payable, and the proceeds of all such taxes shall when collected be paid into a special fund and used for no other purpose than the payment of such principal and interest; provided, however, that there may be pledged to the payment of such principal and interest the proceeds of such water service charges and/or sewer service charges and in the event of such pledge the amount of the annual tax levied herein required may be reduced in any year by the amount of such proceeds actually received in the preceding year and then remaining on deposit to the credit of such fund for the payment of such principal and interest.
(3) Revenue bonds as authorized by s. 153.09 may be issued to finance facilities located in any district created under the authority of this section.
History.s. 8, ch. 29837, 1955; s. 2, ch. 57-323; s. 7, ch. 67-547.
153.09 Water revenue bonds and sewer revenue bonds.
(1) Water revenue bonds may be used only in connection with the acquisition, construction or operation of water supply systems or water system improvements, and sewer revenue bonds may be used only in connection with the acquisition, construction and operation of sewage disposal systems and sewer improvements. Water revenue bonds and/or sewer revenue bonds issued under the provisions of this chapter shall not be deemed to constitute a pledge of the faith and credit of the county but such bonds shall be payable solely from the funds provided therefor under the provisions of this chapter. All such bonds shall contain a statement on their face substantially to the effect that the county is not obligated to pay such bonds or the interest thereon except from such funds and that the faith and the credit of the county is not pledged to the payment of the principal of or the interest on such bonds. The issuance of water revenue bonds and/or sewer revenue bonds under the provisions of this chapter shall not directly or indirectly or contingently obligate the county to levy any taxes whatever therefor or to make any appropriation for their payment except from the funds pledged under the provisions of this chapter.
(2)(a) The resolution authorizing the issuance of water revenue bonds under the provisions of this chapter shall pledge the revenues to be received but shall not convey or mortgage any water supply system or water system improvements, or any part thereof.
(b) The resolution authorizing the issuance of sewer revenue bonds under the provisions of this chapter shall pledge the revenue to be received but it shall not convey or mortgage any sewage disposal system or sewer improvements or any part thereof.
(c) Either water revenue bonds or sewer revenue bonds may contain such provisions for protecting and enforcing the rights and remedies of the bondholders as may be reasonable and proper and not in violation of law, including covenants setting forth the duties of the county commission in relation to the purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, operation, repair and insurance of the water supply system or systems and the water system improvements and the sewage disposal system or systems and the sewer improvements and provisions for the custody, and safeguarding and application of all moneys, and for the employment of consulting engineers in connection with such purchase, construction, reconstruction or operation. Such resolution may set forth the rights and remedies of the bondholders and may restrict the individual right of action by bondholders as is customary in trust agreements or trust indentures securing bonds or debentures of corporations.
(d) In addition to the foregoing, such resolution may contain such other provisions as the county commission may deem reasonable and proper for the security of bondholders. Except as in this chapter otherwise provided, the county commission may provide for the payment of the proceeds of the sale of the bonds and revenues of the water supply system or systems and of any water system improvements or of the sewage disposal system or systems and of any sewer improvements to such officer, board or depository as it may designate for the custody thereof, and for the method of disbursement thereof, with such safeguards and restrictions as it may determine.
(3) The resolution providing for the issuance of water revenue bonds and/or sewer revenue bonds may also contain such limitations upon the issuance of additional water revenue bonds and/or sewer revenue bonds as the county commission may deem proper, and such additional bonds shall be issued under such restrictions and limitations as may be prescribed by such resolution.
(4) No water revenue bonds or sewer revenue bonds shall be issued under the authority of this chapter unless the county commission shall have theretofore found and determined the estimated cost of the facilities or systems on account of which such bonds are to be issued, the estimated annual revenues of such facilities or systems, and the estimated annual cost of maintaining, repairing and operating such facilities or systems, nor unless it shall appear from such estimate that the annual revenues will be sufficient to pay such cost of maintenance, repair and operation and the interest on such bonds and the principal thereof as such interest and principal shall become due.
(5) If the approval of the issuance of water revenue bonds or sewer revenue bonds at an election of the freeholders who are qualified electors residing in the county shall be required by the constitution of the state, such election shall be called, noticed and conducted and the result thereof determined and declared as shall have been or may be required by law for the issuance of bonds of the county.
History.s. 9, ch. 29837, 1955.
153.091 Combined systems; issuance of bonds.
(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 153.09, the county may issue water and sewer revenue bonds for the purpose of the construction, acquisition, or improvement of water supply systems or water system improvements and sewage disposal systems or sewer improvements, which have been combined by the county. Such water and sewer revenue bonds may also be issued for the purposes of the construction, acquisition or improvement of such combined system, or any part thereof, and the refunding of any outstanding bonds or obligations theretofore issued to finance the cost of such combined system or any part thereof.
(2) In the event that the water supply system or water system improvements and sewage disposal systems and sewer improvements are combined into one water and sewer system all of the provisions of this chapter relating to water supply systems or water system improvements and sewage disposal systems and sewer improvements and water revenue bonds and sewer revenue bonds shall apply to such combined systems and water and sewer revenue bonds to the extent the same are applicable.
History.s. 8, ch. 67-547.
153.10 Call for bids.
(1) As soon as practicable after the authorization of bonds under the provisions of this chapter or the appropriation of moneys for the construction of water system improvements or sewer improvements, the commission shall publish once, in a newspaper published in the county, and, if the estimated cost exceeds $10,000, in a newspaper of general circulation in the state, a notice calling for sealed bids to be received by the commission on a date not earlier than 15 days from the first publication, for the construction of the work.
(2) The notice shall refer in general terms to the extent and nature of the improvement or improvements and may identify the same by the short designation indicated in the initial resolution and by reference to the plans and specifications on file. If the initial resolution shall have given two or more alternative descriptions of the improvement as to its material, nature, character and size, and if the commission shall not have theretofore determined upon a definite description, the notice shall call for bids upon each of such descriptions.
(3) Bids may be requested for the work as a whole or for any part thereof separately and bids may be asked for any one or more improvements authorized by the same or different resolutions, but any bid covering work upon more than one improvement shall be in such form as to permit a separation of cost as to each improvement.
(4) The notice shall require bidders to file with their bids either a certified check upon an incorporated bank or trust company for 2.5 percent of the amount of their respective bids or a bid bond in like amount with corporate surety satisfactory to the attorney for the county to ensure the execution of a contract to carry out the work in accordance with such plans and specifications and to ensure the filing, at the making of such contract, of a bond in the amount of the contract price with corporate sureties satisfactory to such attorney conditioned for the performance of the work in accordance with such contract.
(5) The commission shall have the right to reject any and all bids, and if all bids are rejected the commission may readvertise.
History.s. 10, ch. 29837, 1955; s. 2, ch. 57-774.
153.11 Water service charges and sewer service charges; revenues.
(1)(a) The county commission shall in the resolution providing for the issuance of either water revenue bonds or sewer revenue bonds, or both, fix the initial schedule of rates, fees and other charges for the use of and for the services furnished or to be furnished by the facilities, to be paid by the owner, tenant or occupant of each lot or parcel of land which may be connected with and use any such facility by or through any part of the water system of the county.
(b) After the system or systems shall have been in operation the county commission may revise such schedule of rates, fees and charges from time to time. Such rates, fees and charges shall be so fixed and revised as to provide funds, with other funds available for such purposes, sufficient at all times to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating the system or systems including the reserves for such purposes and for replacements and depreciation and necessary extensions, to pay the principal of and the interest on the water revenue bonds and/or sewer revenue bonds as the same shall become due and the reserves therefor, and to provide a margin of safety for making such payments. The county commission shall charge and collect the rates, fees and charges so fixed or revised and such rates, fees and charges shall not be subject to supervision or regulation by any other commission, board, bureau or agency of the county or of the state or of any sanitary district or other political subdivision of the state.
(c) Such rates, fees and charges shall be just and equitable and may be based or computed upon the quantity of water consumed and/or upon the number and size of sewer connections or upon the number and kind of plumbing fixtures in use in the premises connected with the sewer system or upon the number or average number of persons residing or working in or otherwise connected with such premises or upon any other factor affecting the use of the facilities furnished or upon any combination of the foregoing factors.
(d) In cases where the amount of water furnished to any building or premises is such that it imposes an unreasonable burden upon the water supply system an additional charge may be made therefor or the county commission may if it deems advisable compel the owners or occupants of such building or premises to reduce the amount of water consumed thereon in a manner to be specified by the county commission or the county commission may refuse to furnish water to such building or premises.
(e) In cases where the character of the sewage from any manufacturing or industrial plant or any building or premises is such that it imposes an unreasonable burden upon any sewage disposal system, an additional charge may be made therefor, or the county commission may, if it deems it advisable, compel such manufacturing or industrial plant or such building or premises to treat such sewage in such manner as shall be specified by the county commission before discharging such sewage into any sewer lines owned or maintained by the county.
(2) The county commission may charge any owner or occupant of any building or premise receiving the services of the facilities herein provided such initial installation or connection charge or fee as the commission may determine to be just and reasonable.
(3)(a) No rates, fees or charges shall be fixed under the foregoing provisions of this section until after a public hearing at which all of the users of the facilities provided by this chapter and owners, tenants and occupants of property served or to be served thereby and all others interested shall have an opportunity to be heard concerning the proposed rates, fees and charges. After the adoption by the county commission of a resolution setting forth the preliminary schedule or schedules fixing and classifying such rates, fees and charges, notice of such public hearing setting forth the schedule or schedules of rates, fees and charges shall be given by one publication in a newspaper published in the county at least 10 days before the date fixed in said notice for the hearing, which said hearing may be adjourned from time to time. After such hearing such preliminary schedule or schedules, either as originally adopted or as modified or amended, shall be adopted and put into effect and thereupon the resolution providing for the issuance of water revenue bonds and/or sewer revenue bonds may be finally adopted.
(b) A copy of the schedule or schedules of such rates, fees and charges finally fixed in such resolution shall be kept on file in the office of the clerk of the circuit court in the county and shall be open to inspection by all parties interested. The rates, fees or charges so fixed for any class of users or property served shall be extended to cover any additional property thereafter served which fall within the same class without the necessity of any hearing or notice.
(c) Any change or revision of any rates, fees or charges may be made in the same manner as such rates, fees or charges were originally established as hereinabove provided, but if such change or revision be made substantially pro rata as to all classes of service no notice or hearing shall be required.
History.s. 11, ch. 29837, 1955.
153.12 Collection of charges.
(1) Upon the construction of a sewage disposal system and the financing of such construction by the issuance of sewer revenue bonds under the provisions of this chapter, the owner, tenant or occupant of each lot or parcel of land within the county which abuts upon a street or other public way containing a sanitary sewer served or which may be served by such disposal system and upon which lot or parcel a building shall have been constructed for residential or commercial use and which lot or parcel shall not already be served by, or have available to it for service, a sanitary sewer, shall, if so required by the rules and regulations of the county commission or by resolution thereof, connect such building with such sanitary sewer and shall cease to use any other method for the disposal of sewage, sewage waste or other polluting matter. All such connections shall be made in accordance with rules and regulations which shall be adopted from time to time by the county commission.
(2) The county commission may provide in the resolution authorizing the issuance of water revenue bonds or sewer revenue bonds under the provisions of this chapter that the charges for the services furnished by any facility constructed or reconstructed by the county under the provisions of this chapter shall be included in single bills to be rendered for all the services furnished to the premises, and that if the amount of such charges so included shall not be paid within 30 days from the rendition of any bill, the county commission shall discontinue furnishing water to such premises and shall disconnect the same from the water supply system of the county. Any such resolution may include any or all of the following provisions, and may permit the county commission to adopt such resolution or take such other lawful action as shall be necessary to effectuate such provisions, and the county commission is hereby authorized to adopt such resolutions and to take such other action:
(a) That the county may require the owner, tenant or occupant of each lot or parcel of land within the county who is obligated to pay the rates, fees or charges for the services furnished by any facility purchased, constructed or reconstructed by the county under the provisions of this chapter to make a reasonable deposit with the county commission in advance to ensure the payment of such rates, fees or charges and to be subject to application to and payment thereof if and when delinquent.
(b) That if any rates, fees or charges for the use and services of any sewage disposal system or sewer improvements by or in connection with any premises not served by the waterworks system of the county shall not be paid within 30 days after the same shall become due and payable, the owner, tenant or occupant of such premises shall cease to dispose of sewage or industrial waste originating from or on said premises by discharge thereof directly or indirectly into the sewer system of the county until such rates, fees or charges with interest, shall be paid; that if such owner, tenant or occupant shall not cease such disposal at the expiration of such 30-day period it shall be the duty of any district, private corporation, board, body or person supplying water to or selling water for use on such premises to cease supplying water to or selling water for the use on such premises within 5 days after the receipt of notice of such delinquency from the county; and that if such district, private corporation, board, body or person shall not, at the expiration of such 5-day period, cease supplying water to or selling water for use on such premises, then the county may, unless it has theretofore contracted to the contrary, shut off the supply of water to such premises.
History.s. 12, ch. 29837, 1955.
153.13 Application of revenues.
(1) All revenues derived from any water supply system, water system improvement, sewage disposal system or sewer improvements for either of which a single issue of water revenue bonds or sewer revenue bonds shall be issued, except such part thereof as may be required to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing and operating such system or systems and to provide reserves therefor as may be provided in the resolution authorizing the issuance of such water revenue bonds or sewer revenue bonds, shall be set aside at such regular intervals as may be provided in such resolution and deposited for the credit of the following separate funds for the following purposes:
(a) Sinking fund for the payment of interest on and the principal of such water revenue bonds and/or sewer revenue bonds as the same shall become due, necessary charges of paying agents for paying such interest and principal, and any premium upon bonds retired by call or purchase before their maturity or respective maturities, including the accumulation of reserves for such purposes; and
(b) A fund for anticipated renewals and replacements and extraordinary repairs.
(2) The use and disposition of moneys to the credit of such sinking fund shall be subject to such regulations as may be provided in the resolution authorizing the issuance of the water revenue bonds and/or sewer revenue bonds and, except as may otherwise be provided in such resolution, such sinking fund shall be a fund for the benefit of all bonds without distinction or priority of one over the other.
(3) The county commission shall at the close of each fiscal year make or cause to be made a comprehensive report of its operations of the water supply system or systems and sewage disposal system or systems under its control during the preceding fiscal year, including all matters relating to rates, revenues, expenses for maintenance, repair and operation and of replacements and extensions, principal and interest retirements and the status of all funds, and there shall be set forth in such report the budget recommended by the commission for the current fiscal year. A copy of such annual report shall be filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county and shall be open to the inspection of all interested persons. Any surplus of the gross revenues remaining at the end of any fiscal year after making the required deposits for the credit of the separate funds set forth above, and not appropriated in the budget for the then-current fiscal year, shall be paid into the sinking fund.
History.s. 13, ch. 29837, 1955.
153.14 Trust funds.All moneys received pursuant to the authority of this chapter shall be deemed to be trust funds, to be held and applied solely as provided in this chapter. The resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds shall provide that any officer to whom, or any bank, trust company or other fiscal agent to which such moneys shall be paid shall act as trustee of such moneys and shall hold and apply the same for the purposes hereof, subject to such regulations as this chapter and such resolution may provide.
History.s. 14, ch. 29837, 1955.
153.15 Remedies.Any holder of bonds issued under the provisions of this chapter or any of the coupons appertaining thereto, except to the extent the rights herein given may be restricted by the resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds, may, either at law or in equity, by suit, mandamus or other proceeding, protect and enforce any and all rights under the laws of Florida or granted hereunder or under such resolution, and may enforce and compel the performance of all duties required by this chapter or by such resolution to be performed by the county or by the county commission, including the fixing, charging and collecting of rates, fees and charges for services and facilities furnished by the water supply system, water system improvement, sewage disposal system or sewer improvements and the levying and collecting of any special assessments.
History.s. 15, ch. 29837, 1955.
153.16 Water revenue refunding bonds.The county commission is hereby authorized to provide by resolution for the issuance of water revenue refunding bonds of the county for the purpose of refunding any water revenue bonds then outstanding and issued under the provisions of this chapter. The county commission is further authorized to provide by resolution for the issuance of water revenue bonds of the county for combined purposes:
(1) Paying the cost of any extension, addition or reconstruction of a water supply system or systems or water system improvements or the cost of a new water supply system or systems or water system improvements; and
(2) Refunding such water revenue bonds of the county which shall theretofore have been issued under the provisions of this chapter and shall then be outstanding and which then shall have matured or be subject to redemption or can be acquired for retirement. The issuance of such bonds, the maturities and other details thereof, the rights and remedies of holders thereof, and the rights, powers, privileges, duties and obligations of the county or of the county commission with respect to the same shall be governed by the foregoing provisions of this chapter insofar as the same may be applicable.
History.s. 16, ch. 29837, 1955.
153.17 Sewer revenue refunding bonds.The county commission is hereby authorized to provide by resolution for the issuance of sewer revenue refunding bonds of the county for the purpose of refunding any sewer revenue bonds then outstanding and issued under the provisions of this chapter. The county commission is further authorized to provide by resolution for the issuance of sewer revenue bonds of the county for the combined purposes of:
(1) Paying the cost of any extension, addition or reconstruction of a sewage disposal system or systems or sewer improvements or the cost of a new sewage disposal system or systems or sewer improvements; and
(2) Refunding such sewer revenue bonds of the county which shall theretofore have been issued under the provisions of this chapter and shall then be outstanding and which then shall have matured or be subject to redemption or can be acquired for retirement. The issuance of such bonds, the maturities and other details thereof, the rights and remedies of holders thereof, and the rights, powers, privileges, duties and obligations of the county or of the county commission with respect to the same shall be governed by the foregoing provisions of this chapter insofar as the same may be applicable.
History.s. 17, ch. 29837, 1955.
153.18 Exemption of property from taxation.As proper facilities for the furnishing of water for human consumption and fire protection and proper facilities for the treatment, purification and disposal of sewage are essential for the health of the inhabitants of the county and for its industrial and commercial development, and as the exercise of the powers conferred by this chapter to effect such purposes constitutes the performance of essential county functions, and is hereby declared to be a county purpose, and as the facilities constructed under the provisions of this chapter, constitute public property and are used for county purposes, the county shall not be required to pay any taxes or assessments upon any such facilities or any part thereof.
History.s. 18, ch. 29837, 1955.
153.19 Private water supplies.No jurisdiction hereunder shall be exercised by the board of county commissioners over any privately owned industrial water supply system or the disposition of industrial or manufacturing wastes nor shall any rule or regulation be adopted or suit instituted or prosecuted hereunder designed or intended to control or regulate the same, unless one of the following conditions exists:
(1) That prior to the utilization of any waters for the disposition of industrial or manufacturing waste, such waters were being used as a source of, or as a part of a water supply system under this chapter, or
(2) In the case of an industrial or manufacturing plant that is connected with and using any facility authorized by this chapter; but any such rule, regulation or suit shall be limited to the particular waters or the particular industrial or manufacturing plant affected by one of the above conditions; provided, however, this shall not restrain or prevent the Department of Health in anywise from instituting a suit or taking other action in event said plant or manufacturing company shall pollute the waters in the state as defined in 1s. 387.08.
History.s. 19, ch. 29837, 1955; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 28, ch. 77-147; s. 15, ch. 97-101.
1Note.Repealed by s. 125, ch. 97-237.
153.20 Alternative method.
(1) This chapter shall be deemed to provide an additional and alternative method for the doing of the things authorized hereby and shall be regarded as supplemental and additional to the powers conferred upon the commission by other laws, and shall not be regarded as in derogation of any powers now existing. This chapter being necessary for the welfare of the inhabitants of the several counties of the state shall be liberally construed to effect the purposes thereof.
(2) This chapter shall not repeal any local or special act or law conferring upon any of the several counties or county commissions the powers and duties or any of them imposed hereby, but it shall be deemed to be an alternative or additional method for such counties or county commissions to effect the purposes of this chapter.
History.ss. 20, 22, ch. 29837, 1955.
COUNTY WATER AND
SEWER DISTRICTS
153.50 Short title.
153.51 Legislative intent.
153.52 Definitions.
153.53 Establishment of districts in unincorporated areas.
153.54 Preliminary report by county commissioners with respect to creation of proposed district.
153.55 Public hearing upon report of county commissioners and creation of district; findings of board of county commissioners.
153.56 Call election to determine creation of district, issuance of bonds.
153.57 Ballots and election officials.
153.58 Election results; resolution of commission; publication of notice of estoppel.
153.59 Court proceedings; jurisdiction, priority.
153.60 County commissioners ex officio governing board.
153.61 Expenses.
153.62 District board; powers.
153.63 Revenue bonds.
153.64 Schedule of rates and fees.
153.65 Trust funds; trustees.
153.66 Covenants of district board with bondholders.
153.67 Unpaid fees to constitute lien.
153.68 General obligation bonds, election; issuance, tax levy.
153.69 County property appraiser ex officio tax assessor for district.
153.70 Provisions of s. 153.63 applicable to general obligation bonds.
153.71 Publication of notice of issuance of bonds.
153.72 Bonds; qualities of negotiable instruments; rights of holders.
153.73 Assessable improvements; levy and payment of special assessments.
153.74 Issuance of certificates of indebtedness based on assessments for assessable improvements.
153.75 Annual reports of district board.
153.76 Exemption from taxation.
153.77 District bonds as securities for public bodies.
153.78 Bonds as payment for services.
153.79 Contracts for construction of improvements, sealed bids.
153.80 Consolidation of systems.
153.81 Ad valorem maintenance tax.
153.82 Handling of taxes and special assessments, district treasurer.
153.83 Free water and sewer services prohibited.
153.84 Contracts enforceable by bondholders.
153.85 Conveyance of property without consideration.
153.86 District approval of construction of water and sewage facilities.
153.87 Mortgage or sale by board of district property prohibited; rights of bondholders protected.
153.88 Construction of law.
153.50 Short title.This law may be known and cited as the “County Water and Sewer District Law.”
History.s. 1, ch. 59-466.
153.51 Legislative intent.It is declared as a matter of legislative determination that the extensive growth of population and attendant industry and commerce throughout the state has given rise to public health and water supply problems of statewide concern, in that many unincorporated areas of the counties of the state are not served by water and sewer facilities normally and generally provided and maintained by the municipalities of the state or their agencies or instrumentalities or by private corporations or persons and are not otherwise adequately provided for; that many of such unincorporated areas are in extreme need of such sewage disposal and water supply facilities, and that it is the intent and purpose of this law to provide means for the counties of the state to alleviate such conditions in such unincorporated areas.
History.s. 2, ch. 59-466.
153.52 Definitions.As used in this law, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings, unless some other meaning is plainly intended:
(1) “District” shall mean any unincorporated contiguous area comprising part but not all of the area of any county created into and existing as a water and sewer district pursuant and subject to this law, having the rights, powers and privileges granted in this law.
(2) “Board of county commissioners” shall mean the board of county commissioners of the county in which a district created pursuant to this law is located.
(3) “District board” shall mean the board of county commissioners of any county constituting the governing body of any district as provided for in this law, and acting for and on behalf of such district as a body corporate and politic.
(4) “Sewer system” shall mean and shall include any plant, system, facility or property and additions, extensions and improvements thereto at any future time constructed or acquired as part thereof, useful or necessary or having the present capacity for future use in connection with the collection, treatment, purification or disposal of sewage of any nature or originating from any source, including industrial wastes resulting from any processes of industry, manufacture, trade or business or from the development of any natural resources; and without limiting the generality of the foregoing definition shall embrace treatment plants, pumping stations, lift stations, valves, force mains, intercepting sewers, laterals, pressure lines, mains and all necessary appurtenances and equipment, all sewer mains and laterals for the reception and collection of sewage from premises connected therewith, and shall include all real and personal property and any interest therein, rights, easements and franchises of any nature whatsoever relating to any such system and necessary or convenient for the operation thereof.
(5) “Water system” shall mean and include any plant, system, facility or property and additions, extensions and improvements thereto at any future time constructed or acquired as part thereof, useful or necessary or having the present capacity for future use in connection with the development of sources, treatment or purification and distribution of water and alternative water supplies, including, but not limited to, reclaimed water and water from aquifer storage and recovery and desalination systems, for domestic or industrial use and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, shall include dams, reservoirs, storage tanks, mains, lines, valves, pumping stations, laterals, and pipes for the purpose of carrying water to the premises connected with such system and shall include all real and personal property and any interests therein, rights, easements and franchises of any nature whatsoever relating to any such system and necessary or convenient for the operation thereof.
(6) “Cost” as applied to the acquisition and construction of a water system or a sewer system or extensions, additions or improvements thereto shall include the cost of construction or reconstruction, acquisition or purchase, the cost of all labor, materials, machinery and equipment, cost of all lands and interest therein, property, rights, easements and franchises of any nature whatsoever, financing charges, interest prior to and during construction and for not more than 2 years after completion of the construction or acquisition of such water system or sewer system or extensions, additions or improvements thereto, the creation of initial reserve or debt service funds, bond discount, cost of plans and specifications, surveys and estimates of costs and revenues, cost of engineering, financial and legal services, and all other expenses necessary or incidental in determining the feasibility or practicability of such construction, reconstruction or acquisition, administrative expenses and such other expenses as may be necessary or incidental to financing authorized by this law, and including reimbursement of the county or any other person, firm or corporation for any moneys advanced to a district for any expenses incurred by a district or county in connection with any of the foregoing items of cost, or the creation of such district.
(7) “Assessable improvements” shall mean that portion or portions of a sewer system or a water system of a local nature and of benefit to the premises or lands served thereby and particularly, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, with reference to a sewer system, shall include, without being limited to, laterals and mains for the collection and reception of sewage from premises connected therewith, local or auxiliary pumping or lift stations, treatment plants or disposal plants, and other appurtenant facilities and equipment for the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage; and with reference to a water system shall include such mains and laterals and other distribution facilities, pumping stations, and sources of supply as are of benefit to the property served by such water system together with incidental equipment and appurtenances necessary therefor.
(8) “District clerk” shall mean the clerk of the circuit court and ex officio clerk of the board of county commissioners in and for any county having or establishing a district pursuant to this law, who shall be clerk and treasurer of the district.
(9) “Revenue bonds” shall mean bonds or other obligations secured by and payable from the revenues derived from rates, fees and charges collected by a district from the users of the facilities of any water system or sewer system, or both, and which may be additionally secured by a pledge of the proceeds of special assessments levied against benefited property or by a pledge of the full faith and credit of the district, or both.
(10) “General obligation bonds” shall mean bonds or other obligations secured by the full faith and credit and taxing power of the district and payable from ad valorem taxes levied and collected on all taxable property in the district, without limitation of rate or amount, and may be additionally secured by the pledge of either or both the proceeds of special assessments levied against benefited property, or revenues derived from said water system or sewer system, or both.
(11) “Assessment bonds” shall mean bonds or other obligations secured by and payable from special assessments levied against benefited lands, and which may be additionally secured by a pledge of the full faith and credit of the district.
History.s. 3, ch. 59-466; s. 3, ch. 95-323.
153.53 Establishment of districts in unincorporated areas.
(1) Subject to this law, the board of county commissioners of any county may establish one or more districts as it shall in its discretion determine to be necessary in the public interest. Any such district shall consist of only unincorporated contiguous areas of such county, comprising part but not all of the areas of such county. As used herein, “unincorporated areas” shall mean all lands outside of the incorporated boundaries of towns, cities, or other municipalities of the state whether existing under the general law or special act and shall include any lands, areas, or property within the district of any special tax districts, school district, or any other public corporations or bodies politic of any nature whatsoever, except municipalities.
(2)(a) As an alternative method of establishing a water and sewer system district, a petition signed by persons owning not less than 10 percent of the property within the boundaries of the proposed district may be filed with the property appraiser of the county in which said district is to be located.
(b) Said petition shall describe the territory to be included in said proposed district, the name of the district if there is one, and the general purpose for which the district is being established, as set out in ss. 153.51 and 153.52.
(c) Said petition shall request the board of county commissioners to call and provide for a referendum election to determine whether such district shall be created and further call for an election of the first board of commissioners for said district.
(d) Within 30 days after the petition is received by the property appraiser, said property appraiser shall determine whether such petition has been duly signed by the requisite number of property owners within the boundaries of the proposed district. If there is a sufficient number of valid signatures, the property appraiser shall forthwith deliver said petition to the board of county commissioners who shall within 60 days hold an election to determine if the district shall be created. The board of county commissioners shall have notice of such election published once a week for 4 successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation within the area of the proposed district. Said notice shall describe the purpose for which the district is to be established and the territory proposed to be included in the said district. If there is no such newspaper, then notice may be posted on the courthouse door and in five conspicuous places within the proposed district.
(3)(a) At the same time the board of county commissioners receives from the property appraiser a petition and fixes the date for an election to determine if a district shall be established, said board of county commissioners may also call an election for three persons to serve as commissioners of the proposed district. The county commissioners shall also advertise in the same manner that an election is to be held for three commissioners of the proposed district and shall set out in said notice the qualifications of candidates to qualify by petition for election to said office. The board of county commissioners shall cause to be printed on the ballot for said district referendum the names of any persons qualified as candidates for the office of member of the board of commissioners of the district who have filed with the board of county commissioners a petition signed by not less than the owners of 10 percent of the property within the district. The candidate’s petition shall be filed with the board of county commissioners not less than 14 days prior to said election with a qualifying fee in the amount of $25 payable to the board of county commissioners. Said fee shall be used to defray the expense of the election. Should the qualifying fees exceed the cost of the election, the surplus shall be transferred into the general operating fund of the water and sewer district if it be established or if it be rejected then said surplus shall be transferred to the general county operating fund.
(b) The supervisor of elections shall assist the board of county commissioners in preparing a list of eligible electors from a list of property owners within the proposed district to be furnished by the property appraiser, and said supervisor shall further assist the board of county commissioners with such other administrative matters pertaining to the conduct of the election as the county commission deems appropriate.
(c) The ballot to be used at said election shall be in substantially the following form:

OFFICIAL BALLOT

____ WATER AND SEWER DISTRICT

____ COUNTY, FLORIDA

SPECIAL ELECTION   (Insert date)  

1. Shall ____ Water and Sewer District ____ County, Florida, be created?

____ Yes

____ No

2. Make a cross mark (x) before the names of the candidates of your choice.

FOR COMMISSIONERS OF

WATER AND SEWER DISTRICT

VOTE FOR THREE     WRITE-IN VOTES __________ __________ __________ __________

Blank lines shall be placed on the ballot so that the name of any person who did not file a petition and who is otherwise qualified may be written in, in the form of an irregular or write-in vote. The inspectors and clerks for said election shall be appointed by the board of county commissioners. The ballots shall be furnished by the board of county commissioners. The board of county commissioners shall designate an appropriate polling place or polling places where said election shall be held. The inspectors and clerks shall make returns to the board of county commissioners and said board of county commissioners shall canvass said election returns and declare the results thereof at a meeting to be held as soon as practical after said election.

(d) Said district shall be established upon a favorable vote in person or by proxy of the owners of 50 percent or more of the property within the district, and the three persons receiving the highest number of votes cast for candidates shall be elected commissioners of the district until their successors are elected. Upon expiration of 20 days after the declaration of the result of said election by the board of county commissioners, such declaration of the results shall be regarded for all purposes as conclusive.
(e) At said election only persons owning property within the district shall be qualified to vote. Such vote shall be in person or by proxy. No proxy shall be effective unless acknowledged by a notary public. If the board of county commissioners shall find and determine that the result of said election is adverse to the proposition of creating a district no other election for the same purpose shall be held within 1 year thereafter.
(f) If a requisite number of votes at such special election shall favor the creation of such a district, then said board of county commissioners shall enter an order constituting the territory in which said special election was held as a district with all the powers granted to water and sewer districts under the provisions of chapter 153.
(g) Commissioners of said district shall be the owners of property within said district who are registered electors in some county in the state, at least one of whom shall reside in the county or adjoining county.
(4) Beginning with the next general election following the creation of the district, and in the general election each 4 years thereafter, the said district commissioners shall qualify by petition and be elected by the property owners of the district. The three persons receiving the highest number of votes cast in the general election shall serve 4 years and shall take office at the same time as do other county officers, on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January next after their election, and serve on the same cycle as do other constitutional county officers.
(5) In the event of a vacancy due to any cause in any board of commissioners, the same shall be filled by appointment by a majority of the members of the board of county commissioners for the unexpired term.
(6)(a) As soon as practicable after such district commissioners have been elected and have qualified, they shall meet and organize by election from among their number a chair, a secretary, and a treasurer. The secretary need not be a commissioner. Two members of the board shall constitute a quorum. The vote of two members shall be necessary to transact business.
(b) Each commissioner, before assuming office, shall be required to give the Governor a good and sufficient surety bond in the sum of $2,000, the cost thereof being borne by the district, conditioned on the faithful performance of the duties of his or her office, said bond to be approved and filed in the same manner as is that of the board of county commissioners. The failure of any person to make and file this bond within 10 days after his or her election shall create a vacancy on said board.
(7) The powers and duties of the commissioners shall be the same as those of county commissioners supervising districts as provided for under subsection (1).
(8) Members of the board of commissioners shall each be paid $5 a day for each day’s service; provided the per diem compensation shall not exceed the sum of $300 for each commissioner during any one year. Said members shall be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided in s. 112.061. All boards of commissioners shall hold regular monthly meetings, and special meetings as needed, in the courthouse or in an appropriate place within the district.
(9) The owners of not less than 50 percent of the property within any proposed or established water and sewer district may at any time petition for a referendum calling for any two or more of said districts which are contiguous to be combined and be supervised by a single board elected as hereinabove described. However, if the board of county commissioners shall deem such a combination to be reasonably necessary for the purpose of providing the improvements authorized by this chapter, it may approve same, subject to referendum requirements, notwithstanding that the territories to be combined and included in the new district are not contiguous. Said referendum shall be conducted in substantially the same manner as a referendum to create a single district.
(10) All projects in any district created pursuant to this section as amended by chapter 70-433, Laws of Florida, affecting lakes, streams, or navigable waters shall conform to the provisions of chapter 253.
History.s. 4, ch. 59-466; ss. 1, 2, ch. 70-433; s. 1, ch. 76-148; s. 1, ch. 77-102; s. 865, ch. 95-147.
153.54 Preliminary report by county commissioners with respect to creation of proposed district.Upon receipt of a petition duly signed by not less than 25 qualified electors who are also freeholders residing within an area proposed to be incorporated into a water and sewer district pursuant to this law and describing in general terms the proposed boundaries of such proposed district, the board of county commissioners if it shall deem it necessary and advisable to create and establish such proposed district for the purpose of constructing, establishing or acquiring a water system or a sewer system or both in and for such district (herein called “improvements”), shall first cause a preliminary report to be made which such report together with any other relevant or pertinent matters, shall include at least the following:
(1) A general description of the proposed improvements to be made in such district.
(2) A general estimate of the cost of the proposed improvements.
(3) The present condition of water and sewer facilities in the area comprising such proposed district.
(4) Findings with respect to the necessity or reasonableness of the inclusion of lands proposed to be included within the district with reference to the benefits to be derived or able to be derived by such included lands from such proposed improvements, and the necessity or reasonableness of the exclusion of lands adjacent to or within such proposed district with reference to such benefits.
(5) For the construction of a new proposed sewerage system or the extension of an existing sewerage system that was not previously approved, the report shall include a study that includes the available information from the Department of Health on the history of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems currently in use in the area and a comparison of the projected costs to the owner of a typical lot or parcel of connecting to and using the proposed sewerage system versus installing, operating, and properly maintaining an onsite sewage treatment system that is approved by the Department of Health and that provides for the comparable level of environmental and health protection as the proposed central sewerage system; consideration of the local authority’s obligations or reasonably anticipated obligations for water body cleanup and protection under state or federal programs, including requirements for water bodies listed under s. 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, Pub. L. No. 92-500, 33 U.S.C. ss. 1251 et seq.; and other factors deemed relevant by the local authority.

Such report shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court and shall be open for the inspection of any taxpayer, property owner, qualified elector or any other interested or affected person.

History.s. 5, ch. 59-466; s. 1, ch. 2006-252.
153.55 Public hearing upon report of county commissioners and creation of district; findings of board of county commissioners.
(1) Upon submission of any such report the board of county commissioners shall hold a public hearing upon such report and the question of the creation of such district, giving at least 20 days’ notice of such hearing by advertisement in a newspaper published in the county and circulating in the area of the proposed district or by posting as provided in s. 153.56 if no such newspaper be published.
(2) At such hearing any taxpayer, property owner, qualified elector or other interested or affected person may make written objections to the creation of such proposed district or the exclusion of any lands therefrom, or the inclusion of any lands therein, the desirability or the feasibility of such proposed improvements or to any other matter, which objections, if any, together with any evidence submitted therewith shall be given full and open consideration by the board of county commissioners.
(3) If upon due consideration of such preliminary report, any such objections and any other pertinent matters, such board of county commissioners shall be satisfied that the construction and acquisition of said improvements is feasible and desirable and of benefit to all the lands included in such proposed district or that certain lands shall be included or excluded, and that the creation of said district is necessary in the public interest, it shall so determine and record such findings and determination, together with an accurate description of the proposed boundaries of the proposed district and the proposed corporate name of such district, by resolution duly adopted.
(4) If the board of county commissioners shall after such hearing deem the creation of such proposed district inadvisable and not in the public interest, it shall make such a finding and determination and no further proceedings shall be taken for the creation of the proposed district under such petition; provided, however, that such finding and determination shall not be deemed to bar the creation of any proposed district at any future time in the manner provided in this law upon the filing of a new petition therefor as provided in this law.
History.s. 6, ch. 59-466.
153.56 Call election to determine creation of district, issuance of bonds.
(1) If the board of county commissioners shall deem that the creation of the proposed district is necessary in the public interest as provided in s. 153.55, it shall call an election for the purpose of submitting to the qualified electors residing in said proposed district the question of the creation and establishment of said district and may also submit at a separate election to be held at the same time, to the qualified electors who are freeholders residing in such district, the question of the issuance of general obligation bonds of said district to pay all or part of the cost of the proposed improvements. Said election shall be held not less than 30 days from the date of the first publication or posting of the notice thereof and such notice shall be published once a week for 4 successive weeks in a newspaper published in the county and circulating in the area of the proposed district, and if no such newspaper be published in the county and circulating in the district, such notice shall be posted in at least 10 different public places within the district.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this law, said election shall be held and conducted pursuant to the general laws of the state applicable thereto, provided, that if the question of the issuance of general obligation bonds is to be voted upon, the election thereon shall conform to the applicable provisions of the constitution and statutes of Florida relating to freeholder elections.
(3) Said call for election of the qualified electors and notice thereof shall include a description of the proposed boundaries of said district, which need not be by metes and bounds but shall be in such detail as to give a reasonable and accurate description thereof and shall further specifically recite that said district, if created, shall be authorized:
(a) To construct or acquire a sewer system or water system or both for said district and any improvements, additions and extensions thereto and to have exclusive control and jurisdiction thereof;
(b) To finance the cost of such construction or acquisition of such improvements by the issuance of either its revenue bonds, general obligation bonds or assessment bonds, as defined in this law, or any combination thereof;
(c) Said notice shall further expressly state that such district, if created and established, shall constitute a special tax district, all the property within which shall be subject to the levy of ad valorem taxes without limitation of rate or amount to secure payment of any of its general obligations, and for the maintenance of such district within the limitations of this law.
(4) The notice of the separate election of the qualified freeholder electors, if held at the same time, shall be in substantially the form provided in the applicable statutes of Florida relating to freeholder elections.

Such elections may be held at any time, including the dates upon which general or primary elections are held in such county.

History.s. 7, ch. 59-466.
153.57 Ballots and election officials.The inspectors and clerks for said election or elections shall be appointed by and the ballots to be voted shall be prepared and furnished by the board of county commissioners, which shall designate the polling place or places at which such election or elections shall be held. The inspectors and clerks shall make returns to the board of county commissioners.
History.s. 8, ch. 59-466.
153.58 Election results; resolution of commission; publication of notice of estoppel.
(1) Immediately after any such election or elections the board of county commissioners shall hold a meeting and shall canvass the votes cast at said election or elections and declare the results thereof by resolution.
(a) If a majority of the qualified electors who vote in said election on the creation of such district shall vote in favor of creation of said district the board of county commissioners shall by resolution declare the district duly created, and forthwith cause an estoppel notice to be published one time in a newspaper published in the county and circulating in the district, or if there be no such newspaper, posted in at least 10 public places in the district. Said notice shall recite the due creation of said district pursuant to this law and the affirmative vote of the majority of the qualified electors voting thereon at said election duly called and held; and shall further recite the substance of the provisions of said notice of election set forth in s. 153.56 and that all of the proceedings had and actions taken in the creation of said district, the holding of said election and an accurate description of said district are on file in the office of the clerk of the circuit court open to public inspection, and shall state that any action or proceeding of any kind or nature questioning the validity of the creation and establishment of said district, including but not limited to, the exclusion or inclusion of lands therein, or other pertinent matters, shall be commenced within 20 days after the first publication of such notice in the circuit court in and for the county. If no such action or proceeding shall be commenced or instituted within 20 days after the first publication or posting of such notice, then all taxpayers, property owners or persons residing within said district or any other interested parties, public, private or corporate within the county and all the persons whatsoever shall be forever barred and foreclosed from instituting or commencing any action or proceedings which question the validity of the creation and establishment of said district and the boundaries thereof.
(b) If a majority of the qualified freeholder electors residing in the district shall participate in the separate freeholder election on the question of the issuance of general obligation bonds, in the event a separate freeholders election is held at the same time as the election on the creation of the district, and a majority of such qualified freeholder electors shall vote in favor of the issuance of such general obligation bonds then such general obligation bonds shall be deemed approved, but shall not be issued unless the district shall be duly created at the election of the qualified electors referred to above.
(2) If the qualified electors who vote in said election on the creation of such district shall vote against the creation of such proposed district, a new petition pertaining to any part of the same area just considered by the board of county commissioners shall not be acted upon by the board of county commissioners until after the expiration of 9 months from the date of the election defeating the creation of said proposed district, even though such new petition shall have been filed by petitioners other than those who originally filed the petition just acted upon by the board of county commissioners, unless 25 percent of the qualified electors of the area petition to have an election.
History.s. 9, ch. 59-466; s. 1, ch. 63-94.
153.59 Court proceedings; jurisdiction, priority.The circuit court in and for any county so establishing a district is vested with jurisdiction in any such proceedings or suits affecting the creation of such districts and all matters pertinent thereto and shall give preference and priority to any such actions or proceedings pending in such court subject to existing statutes.
History.s. 10, ch. 59-466.
153.60 County commissioners ex officio governing board.The board of county commissioners of the county in which any such district is created shall be the ex officio governing board of such district. Such district shall be a body corporate and politic, exercising essential governmental functions and shall have the power to sue and be sued; to contract; to adopt and use a common seal and alter the same at pleasure; to purchase, hold, lease or otherwise acquire and convey such real property and personal property and interests therein as may be necessary or proper to carry out the purposes of this law. The clerk of the circuit court shall be ex officio the clerk and treasurer of the district, and the county tax collector shall be ex officio the tax collector of the district.
History.s. 11, ch. 59-466.
153.61 Expenses.The preliminary expenses for the creation and incorporation of any such district, including election expenses, expenses for legal, financial or other services in connection with the preliminary report undertaken pursuant to s. 153.54, shall be payable out of general county funds, but shall be a reimbursable expense to be paid from the proceeds of any bonds or other obligations issued by said district to accomplish the purposes of this law.
History.s. 12, ch. 59-466.
153.62 District board; powers.The district board for and on behalf of any district created hereunder in addition to and supplementing other powers granted in this law, is authorized and empowered:
(1) To make rules and regulations for its own government and proceedings and to adopt an official seal for the district.
(2) To employ engineers, attorneys, accountants, financial or other experts and such other agents and employees as said district board may require or deem necessary to effectuate the purposes of this law, or to contract for any of such services.
(3) To construct, install, erect, acquire and to operate, maintain, improve, extend, or enlarge and reconstruct a water system or a sewer system or both within said district and the environs thereof and to have the exclusive control and jurisdiction thereof; to issue its general obligation bonds, revenue bonds or assessment bonds, or any combination of the foregoing, to pay all or part of the cost of such construction, reconstruction, erection, acquisition or installation of such water system, sewer system or both; provided that the total amount of all general obligation indebtedness of the district issued pursuant to this law shall not exceed 15 percent of the assessed value of the taxable property in the district at the time of the creation of such district, to be ascertained by the assessed valuations for county taxes in effect at the time of the creation of such district.
(4) To levy and assess ad valorem taxes without limitation of rate or amount on all taxable property within said district for the purpose of paying principal of and interest on any general obligation bonds which may be issued for the purposes of this law, not in excess of the total amount of such general obligation bonds provided for in subsection (3).
(5) To regulate the use of sewers and the supply of water within the district and to prohibit the use and maintenance of outhouses, privies, septic tanks or other unsanitary structures or appliances.
(6) To fix and collect rates, fees and other charges to persons or property or both for the use of the facilities and services provided by any water system or sewer system or both and to fix and collect charges for making connections with any such water system or sewer system and to provide for reasonable penalties on any users or property for any such rates, fees or charges that are delinquent.
(7) To acquire in the name of the district by purchase, gift or the exercise of the right of eminent domain, such lands and rights and interest therein, including lands under water and riparian rights and to acquire such personal property as it may deem necessary in connection with the construction, reconstruction, improvement, extension, installation, erection or operation and maintenance of any water system or sewer system or both and to hold and dispose of all real and personal property under its control; provided, however nothing herein contained shall authorize the power of eminent domain to be exercised beyond the limits of the district.
(8) To exercise exclusive jurisdiction, control and supervision over any water system or sewer system or both, or any part thereof owned, operated and maintained by the district and to make and enforce such rules and regulations for the maintenance and operation of any water system or sewer system or both as may be, in the judgment of the district board, necessary or desirable for the efficient operation of any such systems or improvements in accomplishing the purposes of this law.
(9) To restrain, enjoin or otherwise prevent the violation of this law or of any resolution, rule or regulation adopted pursuant to the powers granted by this law.
(10) To join with any other district or districts, cities, towns, counties or other political subdivisions, public agencies or authorities in the exercise of common powers.
(11) To contract with municipalities or other private or public corporations or persons to provide or receive a water supply or for sewage disposal, collection or treatment.
(12) To prescribe methods of pretreatment of industrial wastes not amenable to treatment with domestic sewage before accepting such wastes for treatment and to refuse to accept such industrial wastes when not sufficiently pretreated as may be prescribed, and by proper resolution to prescribe penalties for the refusal of any person or corporation to so pretreat such industrial wastes.
(13) To require and enforce the use of its facilities whenever and wherever they are accessible.
(14) To sell or otherwise dispose of the effluent, sludge or other byproducts as a result of sewage treatment.
(15) To accomplish construction by holding hearings, advertising for construction bids, and letting contracts for all or any part or parts of the construction of any water system or sewer system or both, to the lowest responsible bidder or bidders or rejecting any and all bids at its discretion, provided that the district may purchase supplies, material and equipment as well as expend for construction work in an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars total cost of each transaction without advertising or receiving bids.
(16) To construct and operate connecting, intercepting or outlet sewers and sewer mains and pipes and water mains, conduits or pipe lines in, along or under any streets, alleys, highways or other public places or ways within the state or any municipality or political subdivision necessary for the purposes of the district.
(17) Subject to such provisions and restrictions as may be set forth in the resolution authorizing or securing any bonds or other obligations issued under the provisions of this law, to enter into contracts with the government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof, or with any county, municipality, district, authority or political subdivision, private corporation, partnership, association or individual providing for or relating to the treatment, collection and disposal of sewage, or the treatment, supply and distribution of water and any other matters relevant thereto or otherwise necessary to effect the purposes of this law, and to receive and accept from any federal agency, grants or loans for or in aid of the planning, construction, reconstruction or financing of any water system or sewer system or both and to receive and accept aid or contributions or loans from any other source of either money, property, labor or other things of value, to be held, used and applied only for the purpose for which such grants, contributions or loans may be made.
History.s. 13, ch. 59-466.
153.63 Revenue bonds.
(1) The district board for and on behalf of any district is authorized to provide from time to time for the issuance of revenue bonds to pay all or part of the cost of a water system or sewer system, or both, or any additions, extensions or improvements thereto. The principal of and interest on any such bonds shall be payable from the rates, fees, charges or other revenues derived from the operation of any such system or systems in the manner provided in this law and the resolution authorizing such revenue bonds and pledging such revenues. Such revenue bonds may also be additionally secured by the pledge of special assessments levied pursuant to this law, or by a pledge of the full faith and credit of said district. The revenue bonds of each issue shall be dated, shall bear interest at such rate or rates as shall not exceed 7.5 percent per annum, shall mature at such time or times not exceeding 40 years from their date or dates as may be determined by the district board and may be made redeemable before maturity, at the option of the district board, under such terms and conditions and at such prices as may be fixed by the district board prior to the issuance of such bonds. The district board shall determine the form of the bonds, including any interest coupons to be attached thereto, and shall fix the denomination or denominations of the bonds and the place or places of payment of principal and interest, which may be at any bank or trust company within or without the state. Such authorizing resolution may further provide that such bonds may be executed manually or by the engraved, lithographed or facsimile signature of the chair of the district board. The seal of the district may be affixed or lithographed, engraved or otherwise reproduced in facsimile on such bonds and shall be attested by the manual or facsimile signature of the district clerk; provided, however, that the signature of at least one of the officials executing such revenue bonds shall be a manual signature. In case any officer whose signature or a facsimile of whose signature shall appear on the bonds shall cease to be such officer before the delivery of such bonds, such signature or facsimile shall nevertheless be valid and sufficient for all purposes the same as if the officer had remained in office until such delivery. All revenue bonds issued under the provisions of this law shall be and constitute and have all the qualities and incidents of negotiable instruments under the law merchant and the negotiable instruments law of the state. The bonds may be issued in coupon or registered form as the district board may determine in such authorizing resolution and provision may be made for the registration of any coupon bonds as to principal alone and also as to principal and interest, and for the reconversion of coupon bonds or of any bond registered as to principal and interest. The issuance of such bonds shall not be subject to any limitations or conditions contained in any other law and the district board may sell such bonds in such manner, either at public or private sale, and for such price, as it may determine to be for the best interests of the district, but no such sale shall be made at a price so low as to require the payment of interest on money received therefor at a rate in excess of 7.5 percent per annum, computed with relation to the absolute maturity of the bonds in accordance with standard tables of bond values, excluding, however, from such computation the amount of any premium to be paid for the redemption of any bonds prior to maturity.
(2) The proceeds of the sale of any such bonds shall be used solely for the payment of the costs of the construction or acquisition of any water system or sewer system or both or the reconstruction or construction or acquisition of extensions, improvements and additions thereto, and shall be disbursed in such manner and under such restrictions, as the district board may provide in the authorizing resolution. Prior to the preparation or issuance of definitive revenue bonds, the district board may, under like restrictions, issue interim receipts or temporary notes or other form of such temporary obligations without coupons, exchangeable for definitive bonds when such bonds have been executed and are available for delivery. The district board may also provide for the replacement of any bonds which shall have become mutilated and be destroyed or lost upon proper indemnification. Revenue bonds may be issued under the provisions of this law without obtaining the consent of any commission, board, bureau or agency of the state, and without any other proceeding or happening of any other condition or thing than those proceedings, conditions or things which are specifically required by this law.
(3) A resolution providing for the issuance of revenue bonds may also contain such limitations upon the issuance of additional revenue bonds secured on a parity with the bonds theretofore issued, as the district board may deem proper, and such additional bonds shall be issued under such restrictions and limitations as may be prescribed by such authorizing resolution.
(4) Revenue bonds shall not be deemed to constitute an indebtedness of the district, and shall not be included in the amount of general obligation bonds which the district is authorized to issue under any other provision of this law, unless the full faith and credit of the district is pledged as additional security for such revenue bonds.
History.s. 14, ch. 59-466; s. 5, ch. 73-302; s. 866, ch. 95-147.
153.64 Schedule of rates and fees.
(1) The district board shall fix the initial schedule of rates, fees or other charges for the use of and the services and facilities to be furnished by any such water system or sewer system to be paid by the owner, tenant or occupant of each lot or parcel of land which may be connected with or used by any such system or systems of the district. After the system or systems shall have been in operation the district board may revise the schedule of rates, fees and charges from time to time; provided, however, that such rates, fees and charges shall be so fixed and revised so as to provide some, which, with other funds available for such purposes, shall be sufficient at all times to pay the expenses of operating and maintaining such water system or sewer system or both, including reserves for such purposes, the principal of and interest on revenue bonds as the same shall become due and reserves therefor, and to provide a margin of safety over and above the total amount of any such payments, and to comply fully with any covenants contained in the proceedings authorizing the issuance of any bonds or other obligations of the district. The district shall charge and collect such rates, fees and charges so fixed or revised, and such rates, fees and charges shall not be subject to the supervision or regulation by any other commission, board, bureau, agency or other political subdivision or agency of the county or state.
(2) Such rates, fees and charges shall be just and equitable and uniform for users of the same class and where appropriate may be based or computed either upon the quantity of water consumed or upon the number and size of sewer connections or upon the number and kind of plumbing fixtures in use in the premises or upon the number or average number of persons residing or working in or otherwise using or occupying such premises or upon any other factor affecting the use of the facilities furnished or upon any combination of the foregoing factors as may be determined by the district board on any other equitable basis.
(3) No rates, fees or charges shall be fixed under the foregoing provisions of this section until after a public hearing at which all the users of the proposed sewer system or water system, or both, or owners, tenants or occupants served or to be served thereby and all others interested shall have an opportunity to be heard concerning the proposed rates, fees and charges. Notice of such public hearing setting forth the proposed schedule or schedules of rates, fees and charges shall be given by one publication in a newspaper published in the county and circulating in the district at least 10 days before the date fixed in such notice for the hearing, which may be adjourned from time to time. If there be no such newspaper published in the county and circulating in the district the notice of such rate hearing shall be posted as provided for in s. 153.56 regarding the posting of the notice calling the election creating the district. After such hearing such schedule or schedules, either as initially adopted, or as modified or amended, may be finally adopted.
(4) A copy of the schedule or schedules of such rates, fees or charges finally adopted shall be kept on file in the office of the district clerk and shall be open at all times to public inspection. The rates, fees or charges so fixed for any class of users or property served shall be extended to cover any additional users or properties thereafter served which shall fall in the same class, without the necessity of any hearing or notice. Any change or revision of such rates, fees or charges may be made in the same manner as such rates, fees or charges were originally established as hereinabove provided; provided however, that if such changes or revisions be made substantially pro rata as to all classes of service no hearing or notice shall be required.
History.s. 15, ch. 59-466.
153.65 Trust funds; trustees.The proceeds of all bonds or other obligations issued under this law and all revenues derived from the operation of any water system or sewer system for the payment of all or part of the cost of which any bonds or other obligations authorized by this law have been issued shall be and constitute trust funds, and shall be used and applied only in accordance with the proceedings authorizing the issuance of any revenue bonds, general obligation bonds or other obligations issued pursuant to this law, and the district may appoint trustees, within or without the state, under trust agreements or indentures to hold and administer the proceeds of any such bonds or other obligations or any such revenues.
History.s. 16, ch. 59-466.
153.66 Covenants of district board with bondholders.In addition to the other provisions and requirements of this law any resolution authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, assessment bonds or any other obligations issued hereunder, may contain provisions and the district board is authorized to provide and may covenant and agree with the several holders of such bonds as to:
(1) Reasonable deposits with the district in advance to ensure the payment of rates, fees or charges for the facilities of the system.
(2) The discontinuance of the services and facilities of any water system or sewer system, or both, for delinquent payments for either water services or sewer services, and the terms and conditions of the restoration of such service.
(3) Contracts with private or public owners of a water system or sewer system not owned and operated by the district for the discontinuance of service to any users of the water system or sewer system, as the case may be, owned and operated by the district.
(4) Limitations on the powers of the district to construct, acquire or operate, or permit the construction, acquisition or operation of any plants, structures, facilities or properties which may compete or tend to compete with any water system or sewer system.
(5) The manner and method of paying service charges and fees and the levying of penalties for delinquent payments.
(6) Subject to this law the manner and order of priority of the disposition of revenues or redemption of any bonds or other obligations.
(7) Terms and conditions for modification or amendment of any provisions or covenants in any such proceedings authorizing the issuance of bonds or other obligations.
(8) Provisions for and limitations on the appointment of a trustee for bondholders for any water system or sewer system.
(9) Provisions as to the appointment of a receiver of any sewer system or water system or both, on default of principal or interest on any such bonds or other obligations or the breach of any covenant or condition of such authorizing proceedings or the provisions and requirements of this law.
(10) Provisions as to the execution and entering into of trust agreements regarding the holding and disposition of revenues derived from such systems and the proceeds of bonds issued for the cost of acquisition or construction or improvement of a water system or sewer system or both, or for any other purposes necessary to secure any such revenue bonds.
(11) Provisions as to the maintenance of any such systems and reasonable insurance thereof.
(12) Any other matters necessary to secure such bonds and the payment of the principal and interest thereof.

All such provisions of the bond proceedings and all such covenants and agreements in addition to the other provisions and requirements of this law shall constitute valid and legally binding contracts between the district and several holders of any such bonds and shall be enforceable by any such holder or holders by mandamus or other appropriate action, suit or proceeding in law or in equity in any court of competent jurisdiction.

History.s. 17, ch. 59-466.
153.67 Unpaid fees to constitute lien.In the event that the fees, rates or charges for the services and facilities of any water or sewer system shall not be paid as and when due, any unpaid balance thereof and all interest accruing thereon shall be a lien on any parcel or property affected thereby. Such liens shall be superior and paramount to the interest on such parcel or property of any owner, lessee, tenant, mortgagee or other person except the lien of county taxes and shall be on a parity with the lien of any such county taxes. In the event that any such service charge shall not be paid as and when due and shall be in default for thirty days or more the unpaid balance thereof and all interest accrued thereon, together with attorneys fees and costs, may be recovered by the district in a civil action, and any such lien and accrued interest may be foreclosed or otherwise enforced by the district by action or suit in equity as for the foreclosure of a mortgage on real property.
History.s. 18, ch. 59-466.
153.68 General obligation bonds, election; issuance, tax levy.
(1) The district board is hereby authorized to provide by resolution from time to time for the issuance of general obligation bonds pledging the full faith and credit of the district for the payment thereof, for the purpose of paying all or part of the cost of the acquisition or construction or improvement of a water system or a sewer system or both, provided however, that the issuance of such bonds, or of any revenue bonds, assessment bonds or other obligations for which the full faith and credit of the district shall have been pledged as additional security shall have been approved at an election of the qualified electors who are freeholders residing in said district, such election to be called, noticed and conducted in the manner provided in the constitution and statutes of Florida for freeholder elections.
(2) For the payment of the principal of and the interest on any general obligation bonds of the district issued under the provisions of this law, the district board is hereby authorized and required and in such resolution authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds shall authorize and require the levy annually of a special tax upon all taxable property within the district over and above all other taxes authorized or permitted by law sufficient to pay such principal and interest as the same shall become due and payable, and the proceeds of all such taxes, when collected, shall be paid into a special fund and used for no other purpose than the payment of such principal and interest, or reserves therefor; provided however, that there may be pledged as additional security for the payment of such principal and interest the proceeds of such rates, fees and charges made for the services and facilities of any such water system or sewer system or both, or the proceeds of special assessments levied to finance the cost of assessable improvements, or both, and in the event of such pledge or pledges the amount of the annual tax herein required may be reduced in any year subject to and in accordance with the proceedings authorizing the issuance of such general obligation bonds.
(3) In the event the full faith and credit of the district is pledged as additional security for the payment of any revenue bonds or assessment bonds issued hereunder, the district board shall in the manner set out above for general obligation bonds provide for and authorize the levy of a special tax annually on all taxable property in the district sufficient in amount to comply with the proceedings authorizing such revenue bonds or assessment bonds for which the full faith and credit of the district is pledged as additional security.
History.s. 19, ch. 59-466.
153.69 County property appraiser ex officio tax assessor for district.The amount of any such annual taxes so levied for general obligation bonds or as additional security for revenue bonds or assessment bonds shall be certified by the district board to the property appraiser of the county who shall be ex officio tax assessor for the district, and such taxes shall be levied and collected in the same manner as other general county taxes.
History.s. 20, ch. 59-466; s. 1, ch. 77-102.
153.70 Provisions of s. 153.63 applicable to general obligation bonds.Any general obligation bonds shall be authorized by resolution of the district board and the provisions of s. 153.63 relative to maturities, execution, rate or rates of interest, redemption prior to maturity, registration, method of sale, and all other matters in said s. 153.63 not inconsistent with the other provisions in this law relating to general obligation bonds, shall apply to any general obligation bonds issued hereunder.
History.s. 21, ch. 59-466.
153.71 Publication of notice of issuance of bonds.Prior to the issuance of any revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, assessment bonds or other obligations, the district board may, in its discretion, publish a notice at least once in a newspaper published in the county and circulating in the district, or posted in the manner provided in s. 153.56 if there be no such newspaper, stating the date of adoption of the resolution authorizing such obligations, and the amount, maximum rate of interest and maturity of such obligations and the purpose in general terms for which such obligations are to be issued, and further stating that any action or proceedings authorizing the issuance thereof, or of any covenants made therein, must be instituted within 20 days after the first publication of such notice, or the validity of such obligations or proceedings or covenants shall not be thereafter questioned in any court whatsoever. If no such action or proceeding is so instituted within such 20-day period then the validity of such obligations, proceedings and covenants shall be conclusive, and all persons or parties whatsoever shall be forever barred from questioning the validity of such obligations, proceedings or covenants in any court whatsoever.
History.s. 22, ch. 59-466.
153.72 Bonds; qualities of negotiable instruments; rights of holders.All revenue bonds, general obligation bonds or assessment bonds issued hereunder shall be and constitute, and have all the qualities and incidents of negotiable instruments under the law merchant and the negotiable instruments law of Florida, and shall not be invalid for any irregularity or defect in the proceedings for the issuance and sale thereof and shall be incontestable in the hands of bona fide purchasers for value. No proceedings in respect to the issuance of such bonds shall be necessary except such as are required by this law. The provisions of this law shall constitute an irrevocable contract between said district and the holders of any such bonds or coupons thereof issued pursuant to the provisions hereof. Any holder of such bonds may either at law or in equity, by suit, action or mandamus, enforce and compel the performance of the duties required by this law or of any of the officers or persons herein mentioned in relation to said bonds, or the levy, assessment, collection and enforcement and application of the taxes, revenues, assessments or other funds pledged for the payment of the principal and interest thereof.
History.s. 23, ch. 59-466.
153.73 Assessable improvements; levy and payment of special assessments.Any district may provide for the construction or reconstruction of assessable improvements as defined in s. 153.52, and for the levying of special assessments upon benefited property for the payment thereof, under the provisions of this section.
(1) The initial proceeding under this section shall be the passage by the district board of a resolution ordering the construction or reconstruction of such assessable improvements, indicating the location by terminal points and routes and either giving a description of the improvements by its material, nature, character, and size or giving two or more descriptions with the directions that the material, nature, character, and size shall be subsequently determined in conformity with one of such descriptions. Sewer or water improvements need not be continuous and may be in more than one locality or street. The resolution ordering any such improvement may give any short and convenient designation to each improvement ordered thereby, and the property against which assessments are to be made for the cost of such improvement may be designated as an assessment district, followed by a letter or number or name to distinguish it from other assessment districts, after which it shall be sufficient to refer to such improvement and property by such designation in all proceedings and assessments, except in the notices required by this section.
(2)(a) As soon as possible after the passage of such resolution, the engineer for the district shall prepare in duplicate plans and specifications for each improvement ordered thereby and an estimate of the cost thereof. Such cost shall include, in addition to the items of cost as defined in this law, the cost of relaying streets and sidewalks necessarily torn up or damaged and the following items of incidental expenses:
1. Printing and publishing notices and proceedings;
2. Costs of abstracts of title; and
3. Any other expense necessary or proper in conducting the proceedings and work provided for in this section, including the estimated amount of discount, if any, upon the sale of assessment bonds or any other obligations issued hereunder for which such special assessments are to be pledged. If the resolution shall provide alternative descriptions of material, nature, character, and size, such estimate shall include an estimate of the cost of the improvement of each such description.
(b) The engineer shall also prepare in duplicate a tentative apportionment of the estimated total cost of the improvement as between the district and each lot or parcel of land subject to special assessment under the resolution, such apportionment to be made in accordance with the provisions of the resolution and in relation to apportionment of cost provided herein for the preliminary assessment roll. Such tentative apportionment of total estimated cost shall not be held to limit or restrict the duties of the engineer in the preparation of such preliminary assessment roll. One of the duplicates of such plans, specifications, and estimates and such tentative apportionment shall be filed with the district clerk and the other duplicate shall be retained by the engineer in his or her files, all thereof to remain open to public inspection.
(c) For the construction of a new proposed sewerage system or the extension of an existing sewerage system that was not previously approved, the report shall include a study that includes the available information from the Department of Health on the history of onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems currently in use in the area and a comparison of the projected costs to the owner of a typical lot or parcel of connecting to and using the proposed sewerage system versus installing, operating, and properly maintaining an onsite sewage treatment system that is approved by the Department of Health and that provides for the comparable level of environmental and health protection as the proposed central sewerage system; consideration of the local authority’s obligations or reasonably anticipated obligations for water body cleanup and protection under state or federal programs, including requirements for water bodies listed under s. 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, Pub. L. No. 92-500, 33 U.S.C. ss. 1251 et seq.; and other factors deemed relevant by the local authority.
(3) The district clerk upon the filing with him or her of such plans, specifications, estimates, and tentative apportionment of cost shall publish once in a newspaper published in the county and circulating in the district, or posted as provided in s. 153.56 if there be no such newspaper, a notice stating that at a meeting of the district board on a certain day and hour, not earlier than 15 days from such publication or posting, the district board will hear objections of all interested persons to the confirmation of such resolution, which notice shall state in brief and general terms a description of the proposed assessable improvements with the location thereof, and shall also state that plans, specifications, estimates, and tentative apportionment of cost thereof are on file with the district clerk. The district clerk shall keep a record in which shall be inscribed, at the request of any person, firm, or corporation having or claiming to have any interest in any lot or parcel of land, the name and post office address of such person, firm, or corporation, together with a brief description or designation of such lot or parcel; and it shall be the duty of the district clerk to mail a copy of such notice to such person, firm, or corporation at such address, at least 10 days before the time for the hearing as stated in such notice, but the failure of the district clerk to keep such record or so to inscribe any name or address or to mail any such notice shall not constitute a valid objection to holding the hearing as provided in this section or to any other action taken under the authority of this section.
(4) At the time named in such notice, or to which an adjournment may be taken by the district board, the district board shall receive any objections of interested persons and may then or thereafter repeal or confirm such resolution with such amendments, if any, as may be desired by the district board and which do not cause any additional property to be specially assessed.
(5) All objections to any such resolution on the ground that it contains items which cannot be properly assessed against property, or that it is, for any default or defect in the passage or character of the resolution or the plans or specifications or estimate, void or voidable in whole or in part, or that it exceeds the power of the district board, shall be made in writing in person or by attorney, and filed with the district clerk at or before the time or adjourned time of such hearing. Any objections against the making of any assessable improvements not so made shall be considered as waived, and if any objection shall be made and overruled or shall not be sustained, the confirmation of the resolution shall be the final adjudication of the issues presented unless proper steps shall be taken in a court of competent jurisdiction to secure relief within 20 days.
(6)(a) Whenever any resolution providing for the construction or reconstruction of assessable improvements and for the levying of special assessments upon benefited property for the payment thereof shall have been confirmed, as hereinabove provided, or at any time thereafter, the district board may issue assessment bonds payable out of such assessments when collected. Said bonds shall mature not later than 2 years after the last installment in which said special assessments may be paid, as provided in subsection (11), and shall bear interest at not exceeding 7.5 percent per annum. Such assessment bonds shall be executed, shall have such provisions for redemption prior to maturity, shall be sold in the manner and be subject to all of the applicable provisions contained in s. 153.63 for revenue bonds, except as the same are inconsistent with the provisions of this section. The amount of such assessment bonds for any assessable improvement, prior to the confirmation of the preliminary assessment roll provided for in subsection (10), shall not exceed 70 percent of the estimated amount of the cost of such assessable improvements which are to be specially assessed against the land and real estate to be specially benefited thereby, as shown in the estimates of the engineer for the district referred to in subsection (2). The amount of such assessment bonds for any assessable improvement to be issued, after the confirmation of the preliminary assessment roll provided for in subsection (10), including any assessment bonds theretofore issued, shall not exceed the amount of special assessments actually confirmed and levied by the district board as provided in subsection (10).
(b) Such assessment bonds shall be payable from the proceeds of the special assessments levied for the assessable improvement for which such assessment bonds are issued; provided, however, that any district may pledge the full faith and credit of such district for the payment of the principal of and interest on such assessment bonds if the issuance of such assessment bonds shall be approved by the qualified electors who are freeholders residing in said district in the manner provided in the constitution and statutes of Florida.
(7) After the passage of the resolution authorizing the construction or reconstruction of assessable improvements has been confirmed as provided in subsection (4), the district may publish at least once in a newspaper published in the county and circulating in the district, or post in the manner provided in s. 153.56 if there be no such newspaper, a notice calling for sealed bids to be received by the district board on a date not earlier than 15 days from the first publication for the construction of the work, unless in the initial resolution the district board shall have declared its intention to have the work done by district forces without contract. The notice shall refer in general terms to the extent and nature of the improvement or improvements and may identify the same by the short designation indicated in the initial resolution and by reference to the plans and specifications on file. If the initial resolution shall have given two or more alternative descriptions of the assessable improvements as to its material, nature, character, and size, and if the district board shall not have theretofore determined upon a definite description, the notice shall call for bids upon each of such descriptions. Bids may be requested for the work as a whole or for any part thereof separately and bids may be asked for any one or more of such assessable improvements authorized by the same or different resolutions, but any bid covering work upon more than one improvement shall be in such form as to permit a separation of cost as to each improvement. The notice shall require bidders to file with their bids either a certified check drawn upon an incorporated bank or trust company in such amount or percentage of their respective bids, as the district board shall deem advisable, or a bid bond in like amount with corporate surety satisfactory to the district board to ensure the execution of a contract to carry out the work in accordance with such plans and specifications and ensure the filing at the making of such contract, of a bond in the amount of the contract price with corporate surety satisfactory to the district conditioned for the performance of the work in accordance with such contract. The district board shall have the right to reject any or all bids, and if all bids are rejected the district board may readvertise or may determine to do the work by the district forces without contract.
(8) Promptly after the completion of the work, the engineer for the district, who is hereby designated as the official of the district to make the preliminary assessment of benefits from assessable improvements, shall prepare a preliminary assessment roll and file the same with the district clerk which roll shall contain the following:
(a) A description of abutting lots and parcels of land or lands within the district which will benefit from such assessable improvements and the amount of such benefits to each such lot or parcel of land. Such lots and parcels shall include the property of the county and any school district or other political subdivision. There shall also be given the name of the owner of record of each lot or parcel where practicable, and in all cases there shall be given a statement of the number of feet of property so abutting, which number of feet shall be known as the frontage.
(b) The total cost of the improvement and the amount of incidental expense.
(9) The preliminary roll shall be advisory only and shall be subject to the action of the district board as hereinafter provided. Upon the filing with the district clerk of the preliminary assessment roll, the district clerk shall publish at least once in a newspaper published in the county, and circulating in the district, or if there be no such newspaper, post in the manner provided in s. 153.56, a notice stating that at a meeting of the district board to be held on a certain day and hour, not less than 15 days from the date of such publication or posting, which meeting may be a regular, adjourned or special meeting, all interested persons may appear and file written objections to the confirmation of such roll. Such notice shall state the class of the assessable improvements and the location thereof by terminal points and route.
(10) At the time and place stated in such notice, the district board shall meet and receive the objections in writing of all interested persons as stated in such notice. The district board may adjourn the hearing from time to time. After the completion thereof, the district board shall either annul or sustain or modify in whole or in part the preliminary assessment as indicated on such roll, either by confirming the preliminary assessment against any or all lots or parcels described therein or by canceling, increasing, or reducing the same, according to the special benefits which the district board decided each such lot or parcel has received or will receive on account of such improvement. If any property which may be chargeable under this section shall have been omitted from the preliminary roll or if the preliminary assessment shall not have been made against it, the board may place on such roll an apportionment to such property. The district board shall not confirm any assessment in excess of the special benefits to the property assessed, and the assessments so confirmed shall be in proportion to the special benefits. Forthwith after such confirmation, such assessment roll shall be delivered to the district clerk. The assessment so made shall be final and conclusive as to each lot or parcel assessed unless proper steps be taken within 30 days in a court of competent jurisdiction to secure relief. If the assessment against any property shall be sustained or reduced or abated by the court, the district clerk shall note that fact on the assessment roll opposite the description of the property affected thereby. The amount of the special assessment against any lot or parcel which may be reduced or abated by the court, unless the assessment upon the entire district be reduced or abated, or the amount by which such assessment is so reduced, may by resolution of the district board be made chargeable against the district at large; or, at the discretion of the district board, a new assessment roll may be prepared and confirmed in the manner hereinabove provided for the preparation and confirmation of the original assessment roll.
(11)(a) Any assessment may be paid at the office of the district clerk within 60 days after the confirmation thereof, without interest. Thereafter all assessments shall be payable in equal installments, with interest at not exceeding 8 percent per year, or, if bonds are issued pursuant to this chapter, at a rate not to exceed 1 percent above the rate of interest at which the improvement bonds authorized pursuant to this chapter and used for improvements are sold, from the expiration of said 60 days in each of the succeeding number of years which the district board shall determine by resolution, not exceeding 20; however, the district board may provide that any assessment may be paid at any time before due, together with interest accrued thereon to the date of payment, if such prior payment shall be permitted by the proceedings authorizing any assessment bonds or other obligations for the payment of which such special assessments have been pledged.
(b) All such special assessments shall be collected by the tax collector of the county in which the district is located at the same time as the ad valorem taxes of the district and general county taxes are collected by the tax collector of such county, and the district shall certify to the county tax collector in each year a list of all such special assessments and a description of and name of the owners of the properties against which such special assessments have been levied and the amounts due thereon in such year, and interest thereon, and any deficiencies for prior years.
(c) All assessments shall constitute a lien upon the property so assessed from the date of confirmation of the resolution ordering the improvement, of the same nature and to the same extent as the lien for general county taxes falling due in the same year or years in which such assessments or installments thereof fall due, and any assessment or installment not paid when due shall be collectible with such interest and with a reasonable attorney’s fee and costs, but without penalties, by the district by proceedings in a court of equity to foreclose the lien of assessments as a lien for mortgages is or may be foreclosed under the laws of the state; provided that any such proceedings to foreclose shall embrace all installments of principal remaining unpaid with accrued interest thereon, which installments shall, by virtue of the institution of such proceedings, immediately become due and payable.
(d) Nevertheless, if prior to any sale of the property under decree of foreclosure in such proceedings, payment be made of the installment or installments which are shown to be due under the provisions of the resolution passed pursuant to subsection (10), and by this subsection and all costs including interest and attorney’s fee, such payment shall have the effect of restoring the remaining installments to their original maturities as provided by the resolution passed pursuant to this subsection and the proceedings shall be dismissed.
(e) It shall be the duty of the district to enforce the prompt collection of assessment by the means herein provided, and such duty may be enforced at the suit of any holder of bonds issued under this law in a court of competent jurisdiction by mandamus or other appropriate proceedings or action.
(f) Not later than 30 days after the annual installments are due and payable, it shall be the duty of the district board to direct the attorney or attorneys whom the district board shall then designate, to institute action within 2 months after such direction to enforce the collection of all special assessments for assessable improvements made under this section and remaining due and unpaid at the time of such direction. Such action shall be prosecuted in the manner and under the conditions in and under which mortgages are foreclosed under the laws of the state.
(g) It shall be lawful to join in one action the collection of assessments against any or all property assessed by virtue of the same assessment roll unless the court shall deem such joinder prejudicial to the interest of any defendant. The court shall allow a reasonable attorney’s fee for the attorney or attorneys of the district, and the same shall be collectible as a part of or in addition to the costs of the action.
(h) At the sale pursuant to decree in any such action, the district may be a purchaser to the same extent as an individual person or corporation, except that the part of the purchase price represented by the assessments sued upon and the interest thereon need not be paid in cash. Property so acquired by a district may be sold or otherwise disposed of, the proceeds of such disposition to be placed in the fund provided by subsection (1); provided, however, that no sale or other disposition thereof shall be made unless the notice calling for bids therefor to be received at a stated time and place shall have been published in a newspaper published in the county and circulating in the district, or posted in the manner provided in s. 153.56 if there be no such newspaper, at least 20 days prior to such disposition.
(12) All assessments and charges made under the provisions of this section for the payment of all or any part of the cost of any assessable improvements for which assessment bonds shall have been issued under the provisions of this law, or which have been pledged as additional security for any other bonds or obligations issued under this law, shall be used only for the payment of principal of or interest on such assessment bonds or other bonds or obligations.
(13) The county in which the district is located and each school district and other political subdivision wholly or partly within the district shall possess the same power and be subject to the same duties and liabilities in respect of assessment under this section affecting the real estate of such county, school district, or other political subdivision which private owners of real estate possess or are subject hereunder; and such real estate of any such county, school district, and political subdivision shall be subject to liens for said assessments in all cases where the same property would be subject to such liens had it at the time the lien attached been owned by a private owner.
(14) If any special assessment made under the provisions of this chapter to defray the whole or any part of the expense of any such improvement shall be deemed by the district board to be inadequate to meet the obligation owed to bondholders, the district board may adjust the duration of and the interest penalty on installment payments of the assessment so that payments of special assessments shall be sufficient to satisfy the contractual obligation owed by the district to bondholders. However, such adjustment shall not have the effect of increasing the special assessment of any property, including the effect of increasing the amount of assessment of any property in proportion to the amount of benefits conferred on that property, nor shall such adjustment increase the interest rate or the installment payment period beyond the interest rate and payment period set forth in paragraph (11)(a). Further, the district board, in adjusting the interest rates and the period of payment of assessments, shall follow the provisions of this section providing for notice and hearing to interested persons and providing for passage of resolutions establishing special assessments.
History.s. 24, ch. 59-466; s. 6, ch. 73-302; s. 1, ch. 82-14; s. 8, ch. 82-195; s. 867, ch. 95-147; s. 2, ch. 2006-252.
153.74 Issuance of certificates of indebtedness based on assessments for assessable improvements.
(1) The district board may, after any assessments for assessable improvements are made, determined and confirmed as provided in s. 153.73, issue certificates of indebtedness for the amount so assessed against the abutting property or property otherwise benefited, as the case may be, and separate certificates shall be issued against each part or parcel of land assessed, which certificates shall state the general nature of the improvement for which the said assessment is made. Said certificates shall be payable in annual installments in accordance with the installments of the special assessments for which they are issued. The district board may determine the interest to be borne by such certificates at a rate no greater than 7.5 percent per annum, and may sell such certificates at either private or public sale at not exceeding par and accrued interest and determine the form, manner of execution and other details of such certificates. Such certificates shall recite that they are payable only from the special assessments levied and collected from the part or parcel of land against which they are issued. The proceeds of such certificates may be pledged for the payment of principal of and interest on any revenue bonds or general obligation bonds issued to finance in whole or in part such assessable improvements, or, if not so pledged, may be used to pay the cost or part of the cost of such assessable improvements.
(2) The district may also issue assessment bonds or other obligations payable from a special fund into which such certificates of indebtedness referred to in the preceding subsection may be deposited; or, if such certificates of indebtedness have not been issued, the district may assign to such special fund for the benefit of the holders of such assessment bonds or other obligations, or to a trustee for such bondholders, the assessment liens provided for in s. 153.73(10), unless such certificates of indebtedness or assessment liens have been theretofore pledged for any bonds or other obligations authorized hereunder. In the event of the creation of such special fund and the issuance of such assessment bonds or other obligations, the proceeds of such certificates of indebtedness or assessment liens deposited therein shall be used only for the payment of the assessment bonds or other obligations issued as provided in this section. The district is hereby authorized to covenant with the holders of such assessment bonds or other obligations that it will diligently and faithfully enforce and collect all the special assessments and interest and penalties thereon for which such certificates of indebtedness or assessment liens have been deposited in or assigned to such fund, and to foreclose such assessment liens so assigned to such special fund or represented by the certificates of indebtedness deposited in said special fund, after such assessment liens have become delinquent and deposit the proceeds derived from such foreclosure, including interest and penalties, in such special fund, and to further make any other necessary covenants deemed necessary or advisable in order to properly secure the holders of such assessment bonds or other obligations.
(3) The assessment bonds or other obligations issued pursuant to this section shall have such dates of issue and maturity as shall be deemed advisable by the district board; provided, however, that the maturities of such assessment bonds or other obligation shall not be more than 2 years after the due date of the last installment which will be payable on any of the special assessments for which such assessment liens, or the certificates of indebtedness representing such assessment liens, are assigned to or deposited in such special fund.
(4) Such assessment bonds or other obligations issued under this section shall bear interest at not exceeding 7.5 percent per annum, shall be executed, shall have such provisions for redemption prior to maturity, shall be sold in the manner and be subject to all of the applicable provisions contained in s. 153.63 for revenue bonds, except as the same are inconsistent with the provisions of this section.
(5) All assessment bonds or other obligations issued under the provisions of this law, except certificates of indebtedness issued against separate parcels of land as provided in this section, shall be and constitute and have all the qualities and incidents of negotiable instruments under the law merchant and the negotiable instruments law of the state.
History.s. 25, ch. 59-466; s. 7, ch. 73-302.
153.75 Annual reports of district board.The district board shall cause to be made at least once each year a comprehensive report of its water system or sewer system or both including all matters relating to rates, revenues, expenses of maintenance, repair and operation and renewals and capital replacements, principal and interest requirements and the status of all funds and accounts. Copies of such report shall be filed with the district clerk and shall be open to public inspection.
History.s. 26, ch. 59-466.
153.76 Exemption from taxation.As the exercise of the powers conferred by this law constitutes the performance of essential public functions and as any water system or sewer system or both constructed under the provisions of this law constitute public property used for public purposes such districts and all properties, revenues, or other assets thereof, and all bonds issued hereunder and the interest thereon, shall be exempt from all taxation by the state, or any political subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof.
History.s. 27, ch. 59-466.
153.77 District bonds as securities for public bodies.All revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, or assessment bonds issued pursuant to this law shall be and constitute legal investments for state, county, municipal, and all other public funds and for banks, savings banks, insurance companies, executors, administrators, trustees, and all other fiduciaries and shall also be and constitute securities eligible as collateral security for all state, county, municipal, or other public funds, subject to the restrictions and limitations of chapters 18, 136, 518, 655, 657, 658, 660-665, and 1011.
History.s. 28, ch. 59-466; s. 64, ch. 81-259; s. 902, ch. 2002-387.
153.78 Bonds as payment for services.Any district is authorized to enter into agreements for the delivery of any revenue bonds, general obligation bonds or assessment bonds at one time or from time to time as full or partial payment for the services of any engineer or work done by any contractor who may have been retained or hired or been awarded a contract for the construction of all or any part of a water system or sewer system; provided, however, that any such bonds so delivered for payment of such services or work performed shall have been authorized and issued in the manner provided in this law and shall otherwise conform to the provisions hereof.
History.s. 29, ch. 59-466.
153.79 Contracts for construction of improvements, sealed bids.All contracts let, awarded or entered into by the district for the construction, reconstruction or acquisition or improvement of a water system or a sewer system or both or any part thereof, if the amount thereof shall exceed $1,000, shall be awarded only after public advertisement and call for sealed bids therefor, in a newspaper published in the county circulating in the district, or, if there be no such newspaper, then in a newspaper published in the state and circulating in the district, such advertisement to be published at least once at least 3 weeks before the date set for the receipt of such bids. Such advertisements for bids in addition to the other necessary and pertinent matter shall state in general terms the nature and description of the improvement or improvements to be undertaken and shall state that detailed plans and specifications for such work are on file for inspection in the office of the district clerk and copies thereof shall be furnished to any interested party upon payment of reasonable charges to reimburse the district for its expenses in providing such copies. The award shall be made to the responsible and competent bidder or bidders who shall offer to undertake the improvements at the lowest cost to the district and such bidder or bidders shall be required to file bond for the full and faithful performance of such work and the execution of any such contract in such amount as the district board shall determine, and in all other respects the letting of such construction contracts shall comply with applicable provisions of the general laws relating to the letting of public contracts. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prevent the district from hiring or retaining such consulting engineers, attorneys, financial experts or other technicians as it shall determine, in its discretion, or from undertaking any construction work with its own resources, without any such public advertisement.
History.s. 30, ch. 59-466.
153.80 Consolidation of systems.Any water system or sewer system of a district may be combined into a single consolidated system for purposes of financing or of operation and administration, or both.
History.s. 31, ch. 59-466.
153.81 Ad valorem maintenance tax.In addition to the ad valorem taxes authorized to be levied to pay the principal of and interest on general obligation bonds, or as additional security for revenue bonds or assessment bonds, any district is authorized to levy a special ad valorem maintenance tax of a sufficient number of mills upon the dollar of assessed valuation of property subject to taxation in the district to pay for the maintenance and operation and other corporate purposes of said district; provided, however, that such special maintenance tax shall in no event exceed 5 mills during any one year. Such special maintenance tax shall be levied and collected in the manner provided herein for ad valorem taxes levied and collected for debt service on bonds issued pursuant to this law.
History.s. 32, ch. 59-466.
153.82 Handling of taxes and special assessments, district treasurer.All ad valorem taxes or special assessments levied and collected in any district in the manner provided herein shall when received be paid over by the proper officials of the county in which the district is located to the treasurer of the district to be applied as provided in this law and in the proceedings authorizing the issuance of any bonds or other obligations pursuant to this law.
History.s. 33, ch. 59-466.
153.83 Free water and sewer services prohibited.The same rates, fees and charges shall be fixed and collected from any county, school district or other political subdivision using the services and facilities of the water system or sewer system, or both, as are fixed and collected from other users of such facilities in the same class. No free water or sewer services shall be rendered by the district and no discrimination shall exist in the fees, rates and charges for users of the same class.
History.s. 34, ch. 59-466.
153.84 Contracts enforceable by bondholders.Any contract entered into by any district shall be deemed to have been made for the benefit of any holders of bonds issued pursuant to this law to the extent necessary, and the terms of any such contract shall be enforceable by such bondholders in any appropriate legal proceeding. Any such contract if made with another public body or municipality may be enforceable without the requirement of formal consideration.
History.s. 35, ch. 59-466.
153.85 Conveyance of property without consideration.Any municipality or political subdivision is authorized to sell, lease, grant or convey any real or personal property to any district and any such sale, grant, lease or conveyance may be made without formal consideration.
History.s. 36, ch. 59-466.
153.86 District approval of construction of water and sewage facilities.No sewage disposal plant or other facilities for the collection and treatment of sewage or any water treatment plant or other facilities for the supply and distribution of water, shall be constructed within any district unless the district board shall give its consent thereto and approve the plans and specifications therefor; subject, however, to the terms and provisions of any resolution authorizing any bonds and agreements with bondholders.
History.s. 37, ch. 59-466.
153.87 Mortgage or sale by board of district property prohibited; rights of bondholders protected.No district board shall have power to mortgage, pledge, encumber, sell or otherwise convey all or any part of any water system or sewer system, or both, except that the district board may dispose of any part of such system or systems as may be no longer necessary for the purposes of the district. The provisions of this section shall be deemed to constitute a contract with all bondholders. All district property shall be exempt from levy and sale by virtue of an execution and no execution or other judicial process shall issue against such property nor shall any judgment against a district be a charge or lien on its property or revenues; provided, that nothing herein contained shall apply to or limit the rights of bondholders to pursue any remedy for the enforcement of any lien or pledge given by a district on revenues derived from the operation of any water system or sewer system, or both.
History.s. 38, ch. 59-466.
153.88 Construction of law.
(1) The provisions of this law shall be liberally construed to effect its purposes and shall be deemed cumulative, supplemental and alternative authority for the exercise of the powers provided herein. The exercise of the powers provided in this law and the issuance of bonds or other obligations hereunder shall not be subject to the limitations or provisions of any other law or laws except as expressly provided herein.
(2) Nothing herein contained shall be construed to affect any local or special act in force and effect on June 19, 1959.
History.ss. 39, 41, ch. 59-466.
WASTEWATER FACILITY
PRIVATIZATION CONTRACTS
153.90 Legislative findings and declarations.
153.91 Definitions.
153.92 Clarifying the authority to enter wastewater facility privatization contracts.
153.93 Responsibility for setting user fees.
153.94 Applicability of other laws.
153.90 Legislative findings and declarations.
(1) The Legislature hereby finds and declares as follows:
(a) That providing modern, efficient wastewater facilities is vital to the health and general welfare of the citizens of the state;
(b) That the construction, rehabilitation, operation, and maintenance of wastewater facilities are essential to economic growth and development in the state;
(c) That protection of taxpayers requires that wastewater services be provided on an economical basis consistent with service and safety standards;
(d) That alternative methods of financing the construction, operation, and improvement of wastewater facilities must be developed and encouraged;
(e) That although public entities currently have broad home rule powers and other statutory authority to enter into certain types of privatization agreements, the ability of public entities to provide efficient wastewater facilities will be enhanced by specifically authorizing public entities to enter into long-term privatization contracts for the performance of wastewater facility functions by private firms;
(f) That wastewater facility privatization contracts will allow private firms to utilize their expertise, experience, and resources to enable public entities to provide modern, efficient wastewater services while protecting the rights and interests of citizens; and
(g) That Executive Order No. 12803 provides relief to public entities from repayment of federal grant awards where the public entity enters into a wastewater facility privatization contract consistent with the requirements of this act and existing law, and public entities should be encouraged to take advantage of that relief.
(2) The Legislature therefore determines that it is in the public interest of the state to supplement and enhance the authority of public entities to solicit, negotiate, and enter into contracts with private entities for the financing, designing, acquisition, ownership, leasing, construction, improvement, operation, maintenance, and administration, or any combination thereof, of wastewater facilities.
(3) It is the intent of the Legislature that the provisions of this act be liberally construed in order to accomplish their purposes and that the provisions of this act shall be in addition and supplemental to powers conferred by any other law.
History.s. 1, ch. 96-202.
153.91 Definitions.As used in this act, the term:
(1) “Wastewater facility privatization contract” means a written agreement, or one or more related written agreements, between a private firm and one or more public entities, which provides for the operation, maintenance, repair, management and administration, or any combination thereof, of a wastewater facility for a term of more than 5 years, but not more than 40 years in duration, and which may also provide for the planning, design, construction, improvement, acquisition, financing, ownership, sale and leasing, or any combination thereof, of the wastewater facility.
(2) “Interlocal agreement” means an agreement entered into pursuant to s. 163.01 by two or more public entities in respect to a wastewater facility privatization contract.
(3) “Public entity” means any political subdivision of this state which is authorized to provide wastewater service, including, but not limited to, county, city, metropolitan or consolidated government, special district, and community development district.
(4) “Private firm” means any privately or publicly held business entity qualified to do business in Florida having the financial capacity and technical, administrative, and regulatory experience and expertise necessary to enable it to carry out the obligations specified in a wastewater facility privatization contract.
(5) “Wastewater facility” means any equipment, building, or other property used or useful in connection with the provision of a wastewater service to the public, including such interests in land as are necessary or convenient to permit a private firm to perform a contract in respect thereto.
History.s. 2, ch. 96-202.
153.92 Clarifying the authority to enter wastewater facility privatization contracts.Any public entity may enter into a wastewater facility privatization contract, and may join with one or more other public entities in such a contract pursuant to an interlocal agreement. A public entity entering into a wastewater facility privatization contract may make such conveyances of its property, and may make such other agreements and perform such other acts consistent with law, as are determined by the public entity to be necessary or convenient to effectuate the wastewater facility privatization contract. It is the intent of the Legislature that the language used in this section is intended to clarify the existing authority rather than provide any additional authority for public entities to enter into wastewater facility privatization contracts.
History.s. 3, ch. 96-202.
153.93 Responsibility for setting user fees.Responsibility for the setting of user fees charged to members of the public purchasing or using a wastewater service of a wastewater facility subject to a wastewater facility privatization contract; collection of such fees; and enforcement of fee obligations, regulations, and other requirements and obligations applicable to members of the public who purchase or use the wastewater service shall remain obligations of the public entity.
History.s. 4, ch. 96-202.
153.94 Applicability of other laws.Except as expressly provided in this act:
(1) With respect to any wastewater facility privatization contract entered into under this act, a public entity is subject to s. 125.3401, s. 180.301, s. 189.423, or s. 190.0125 but is not subject to the requirements of chapter 287.
(2) A wastewater facility subject to a wastewater facility privatization contract made under this act shall continue to be regulated for all local, state, and federal purposes as if owned, operated, and maintained by the public entity.
History.s. 5, ch. 96-202.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT UTILITIES ASSISTANCE
153.951 Short title.
153.953 Definitions.
153.954 Local Government Utilities Assistance Program; state assistance.
153.955 Acquisition of privately owned water-wastewater utility.
153.951 Short title.This act may be cited as the “Local Government Utilities Assistance Act.”
History.s. 1, ch. 2001-229.
153.953 Definitions.As used in this act:
(1) “Community standards” means, with respect to water and sewer utility rates, rates that are on a par with other rates in the county, or similar utility jurisdictions in surrounding counties, after accounting for relative household incomes or other measures of affordability and size of customer base, all as may be further defined by department rule.
(2) “Department” means the Department of Environmental Protection.
(3) “Privately owned water-wastewater utility” means a water or wastewater utility whose utility assets are privately owned.
History.s. 3, ch. 2001-229.
153.954 Local Government Utilities Assistance Program; state assistance.The Local Government Utilities Assistance Program is established in the department. The department may award financial assistance to a local government in the form of a grant for the purpose of acquiring privately owned water-wastewater utilities. A local government may qualify for financial assistance if the local government documents to the department that the privately owned water-wastewater utility the local government intends to acquire meets the following criteria:
(1) The quality of water or wastewater service provided by the privately owned water-wastewater utility is consistently inadequate to meet public health or water quality standards.
(2)(a) The privately owned water-wastewater utility cannot make the improvements necessary to alleviate the public health or water quality threats through its own resources without increasing its rates for services to an amount beyond that which is commensurate with community standards;
(b) Operation of the privately owned water-wastewater utility represents a public health or water quality threat that would be more effectively addressed through public management or ownership, as demonstrated through a feasibility determination provided by the applicant for financial assistance to the department, that takes into account economic, managerial, and administrative considerations; or
(c) The private utility desires to sell.
History.s. 4, ch. 2001-229.
153.955 Acquisition of privately owned water-wastewater utility.If the applicant for financial assistance demonstrates, based on documentation acceptable to the department, that acquisition of a privately owned water-wastewater utility qualifies under s. 153.954, the department may authorize financial assistance for such acquisition.
History.s. 5, ch. 2001-229.