Florida League of Cities

Resilience Districts (Oppose) – Failed 

HB 1147 (Buchanan) and SB 1200 (Grall) create the Resilience District Act of 2023 by amending Chapter 190, Florida Statutes, relating to Community Development Districts. The bills establish the exclusive and uniform method for the establishment of a special district to address infrastructure through a petition from taxpayers who own real property within the district (“infrastructure resilience district”). The bills also establish the exclusive and uniform method for the establishment of a special district by petition from residents and taxpayers who are unit owners of condominiums or an associated group of condominiums within the district’s proposed boundaries (“condominium resilience district”). The bills prohibit local governments from creating resilience districts. They provide for the process of creation of taxpayer-initiated districts and condominium owner-initiated districts, with input, review and approval by the affected local government. For taxpayer-initiated petitions, the bills specify the petition must be filed with the local government, which will serve as manager for the district unless the district hires a private individual to serve as manager. It specifies the required contents of the petition, including a description of the property to be included in the district, why the district is needed, a proposed budget and a timeline for the expenditure of funds. The bills require the county or municipality receiving a petition to conduct a public hearing to consider its merits and whether it meets specified criteria. They authorize the local government to adopt a resolution supporting or opposing creation of the district by a supermajority vote. A local government is authorized to consider the following factors in granting of denying the petition: whether statements made in the petition are correct; whether the district boundaries comply with Section 190.1052, Florida Statutes; whether the local government has committed to funding the proposed infrastructure project, will implement the project within the next five years and it is included in the capital improvements plan; whether an engineering professional hired by the local government has determined the proposed plan would not adequately solve the problem; whether the district would primarily serve one parcel or owner; whether the projects being proposed are not within the jurisdictional boundary of any local government included as a cooperative partner in the project; whether the proposed improvements would have a significant negative impact on other property owners outside the district; whether the operation and maintenance of the proposed infrastructure would create an undue burden on the local government; and whether establishment of the district is inconsistent with the local government’s comprehensive plan. If the local government denies the petition and fails to implement the infrastructure improvement within five years, the petition must be reheard and may not be subsequently denied, and the local government is responsible for any increased costs of the project and may not receive a project management fee. If the local government inappropriately denies the petition without working with the petitioner to find an agreeable alternative, the local government will be responsible for implementing the project, paying all costs and commencing the project within 180 days. If the proposed district overlaps the boundaries of more than one local government, the affected local governments must enter an interlocal agreement. For condominium unit owner-initiated petitions, the bills specify that counties must develop processes to receive and process petitions by December 2023. The bills specify the required contents for petitions for the establishment of a resilience district by condominiums and the duties and responsibilities of county governments upon receiving a petition. The bills establish Section 190.1052, Florida Statutes, for the purpose of specifying requirements for district boundaries and property to be included in a proposed district. If a proposed district is identical to or shares more than 90% of the geography of any existing special taxing district that primarily serves a similar function, the bills specify the existing district must be dissolved and reconstituted as a resilience district and all assets transferred to the resilience district. The bills create Section 190.1054 to specify accepted uses of infrastructure resilience districts, which may include the following: projects that mitigate flood risk and sea-level rise; infrastructure to improve access to property during floods or storm events; septic to sewer conversion; redevelopment of nonresilient housing stock; and debt service. Acceptable uses of a condominium resilience district include fully funding condominium reserves and executing mandates of the Florida Building Code, Fire Prevention Code or local building codes. The bills create Section 190.1056, Florida Statutes, for the purpose of addressing management and service fees of infrastructure resilience districts and condominium resilience districts, including limitations on management fees paid to local governments and private providers. The bills specify board membership and eligibility for infrastructure resilience districts and condominium resilience districts. The bills create Section 190.111, Florida Statutes, for the purpose of describing the powers and duties of the district boards. Among these powers include the power to borrow money and issue bonds, levy special assessments, collect fees and charges, contract for professional consulting services, and cooperate and contract with other governmental agencies. The bills provide for the reduction, expansion or termination of districts. They provide a local government must take ownership of all infrastructure built by an infrastructure resilience district upon completion of the project, with the district continuing to service the debt. (O’Hara)