(1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—It is the intent of the Legislature that, after September 30, 1989, at a minimum, the requirements of subsection (3) must be satisfied when an independent special district is created.
(2) SPECIAL ACTS PROHIBITED.—Pursuant to s. 11(a)(21), Art. III of the State Constitution, the Legislature hereby prohibits special laws or general laws of local application which:
(a) Create independent special districts that do not, at a minimum, conform to the minimum requirements in subsection (3);
(b) Exempt independent special district elections from the appropriate requirements in s. 189.04; (c) Exempt an independent special district from the requirements for bond referenda in s. 189.042; (d) Exempt an independent special district from the reporting, notice, or public meetings requirements of s. 189.015, s. 189.016, s. 189.051, or s. 189.08; (e) Create an independent special district for which a statement has not been submitted to the Legislature that documents the following:
1. The purpose of the proposed district;
2. The authority of the proposed district;
3. An explanation of why the district is the best alternative; and
4. A resolution or official statement of the governing body or an appropriate administrator of the local jurisdiction within which the proposed district is located stating that the creation of the proposed district is consistent with the approved local government plans of the local governing body and that the local government has no objection to the creation of the proposed district.
(3) MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS.—General laws or special acts that create or authorize the creation of independent special districts and are enacted after September 30, 1989, must address and require the following in their charters:
(a) The purpose of the district.
(b) The powers, functions, and duties of the district regarding ad valorem taxation, bond issuance, other revenue-raising capabilities, budget preparation and approval, liens and foreclosure of liens, use of tax deeds and tax certificates as appropriate for non-ad valorem assessments, and contractual agreements.
(c) The methods for establishing the district.
(d) The method for amending the charter of the district.
(e) The membership and organization of the governing body of the district. If a district created after September 30, 1989, uses a one-acre/one-vote election principle, it shall provide for a governing body consisting of five members. Three members shall constitute a quorum.
(f) The maximum compensation of a governing body member.
(g) The administrative duties of the governing body of the district.
(h) The applicable financial disclosure, noticing, and reporting requirements.
(i) If a district has authority to issue bonds, the procedures and requirements for issuing bonds.
(j) The procedures for conducting any district elections or referenda required and the qualifications of an elector of the district.
(k) The methods for financing the district.
(l) If an independent special district has the authority to levy ad valorem taxes, other than taxes levied for the payment of bonds and taxes levied for periods not longer than 2 years when authorized by vote of the electors of the district, the millage rate that is authorized.
(m) The method or methods for collecting non-ad valorem assessments, fees, or service charges.
(n) Planning requirements.
(o) Geographic boundary limitations.
(4) LOCAL GOVERNMENT/GOVERNOR AND CABINET CREATION AUTHORIZATIONS.—Except as otherwise authorized by general law, only the Legislature may create independent special districts. (a) A municipality may create an independent special district which shall be established by ordinance in accordance with s. 190.005, or as otherwise authorized in general law. (b) A county may create an independent special district which shall be adopted by a charter in accordance with s. 125.901 or s. 154.331 or chapter 155, or which shall be established by ordinance in accordance with s. 190.005, or as otherwise authorized by general law. (c) The Governor and Cabinet may create an independent special district which shall be established by rule in accordance with s. 190.005 or as otherwise authorized in general law. The Governor and Cabinet may also approve the establishment of a charter for the creation of an independent special district which shall be in accordance with s. 373.713, or as otherwise authorized in general law. (d)1. Any combination of two or more counties may create a regional special district which shall be established in accordance with s. 950.001, or as otherwise authorized in general law. 2. Any combination of two or more counties or municipalities may create a regional special district which shall be established in accordance with s. 373.713, or as otherwise authorized by general law. 3. Any combination of two or more counties, municipalities, or other political subdivisions may create a regional special district in accordance with s. 163.567, or as otherwise authorized in general law.
(5) STATUS STATEMENT.—After October 1, 1997, the charter of any newly created special district shall contain and, as practical, the charter of a preexisting special district shall be amended to contain, a reference to the status of the special district as dependent or independent. When necessary, the status statement shall be amended to conform with the department’s determination or declaratory statement regarding the status of the district.