IN THIS ISSUE...
- Membership Has Benefits
- Continental Field Trials at Dixie Plantation
- Greater Red Hills Awareness Initiative
- Juvenile Gopher Tortoises
- Wild Quail - Surviving the Odds
- Webster Art Gallery
Winter 2015 | Vol 8 | No 1
Tall Timbers monitoring implementation of Florida Amendment 1 Funds
As the Florida Legislature begins its 2015 session in March, debate has already started over how to spend the billions of dollars that will be generated over the next 20 years from doc stamp fees on real estate transactions. In November, 75 percent of voters passed a constitutional amendment dedicating funds to acquire and manage conservation lands, restore and protect water resources, provide areas for recreation and keep ranches, farms, and forests as part of Florida’s rural landscape. Tall Timbers joined other leading conservation organizations in endorsing the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment, advocating for the expanded use of conservation easements as a way of keeping working lands in working hands.
This Legislature session will decide on the budget and the rules for Amendment 1 funding. The conservation coalition that sponsored the Amendment recommended first year funding at $170 million for Florida Forever land acquisition projects, $170 million for Everglades restoration, $115 million for land management, $60 million for springs protection, $39 million for Rural Family Land projects, $30 million for beach management, and $173 million to reduce debt service from previous bonds. Other state leaders, however, are recommending improving municipal water and waste-water systems. Local governments like the City of Tallahassee are calling for funding to expand sewer services to rural areas to decrease the number of septic tanks that impact springs. While the Amendment represents less than 1 percent of state funding, the competition for funds will be intense.