FL voters approved Amendment 1 providing millions of dollars to the state to buy land for conservation and trample your property rights. Dan Peterson has done GREAT job putting together a plan for the use of these funds. Please read that plan – below.
FL state Senator Dan Gaetz is holding the first committee meeting on this amendment on this coming Wednesday, January 7, 2015. That is only 3 days from now. It is important for you to contact your FL State Senator and discuss this plan with them. Please send them a copy of it. Urge them to prevent any attempt to “bond” funding from amendment 1 to buy land.
Also, please read down to the yellow highlighted section and do as Dan requests. We must show unity and we must get as many people as possible to join in. Please share this with everyone.
Sorry for the rush, but this needs to be addressed before the state does something bad.
The next step is to discuss the Priorities and Principles plan with your FL State Rep and your affiliated organizations. Please give them a copy..
PRIORITIES & PRINCIPLES
For Allocating Amendment 1 Funds
- Priority: Fund plans to properly manage and maintain currently owned state lands.
Rationale: Government owns land under several agencies which are not managed as they should be. Often left as wilderness, they become a fire hazard, vulnerable to invasive plants, and over population of wild animals. These management and maintenance plans should be approved and made public before any new lands or easements are acquired.
- Priority: Fund restoration and research projects which have a scientific-data basis to insure that something measurably productive is produced, thereby demonstrating effective use of tax payer money.
Rationale: It is irresponsible for government to spend taxpayer dollars on unneeded projects or projects which cannot be measured. Science, including real data, should be the foundation for environmental projects.
- Priority: Fund plans to remedy government permitted and government owned properties and facilities.
Rationale: Some government owned properties and facilities are some of the worst polluters of waters and springs. Properties and facilities for upgrading and/or retrofitting include:
- All state-owned parks with non-polluting septic devices/nutrient filters to protect nearby springs and surface waters.
- Storm run-off water retention areas with nutrient filtering capability.
- Existing sewers to prevent exfiltration.
- Waste water treatment plants.
Again, these re-fits should precede the acquisition of any new lands, development rights, or easements agreements.
- Priority: Focus acquisition on lands for public use. Existing wetlands should be the second priority for acquisition.
Rationale: Because public money is being used, the first acquisitions should go for projects benefitting the public including public parks, beaches, trails, etc.
Existing wetlands should be a second priority due to their ability to recharge water. In most cases, their use for development would be difficult due to restrictive regulations anyway.
- Priority: Fund projects with the potential to increase water retention, storage and economical use.
Rationale: As Florida copes with the needs of stabilizing our water quantity and its stable distribution, attention and funding need to be focused on projects involving:
- Surface waters
- Rain water
- Reclaimed water
- Priority: Keep the public informed by insuring decision making is kept “in the sunshine.”
Rationale: Due to the large amounts of money entrusted to the government via Amendment One, all proposed uses of Amendment One funds should be prominently displayed on the FDEP website homepage including a link leading to a list of projects and scheduled public meetings to educate the public.
Each proposed project should include a description of the proposal, the originator or author of the project, the budget and the proposed date of project initiation, and contractors submitting project bids. This action will help prevent:
- The appearance of waste
- The appearance of fraud
- The misuse of funds (projects not meeting the intent of Amendment 1)
- The poor use of funds (projects with no measurable benefit)
- Infringement on private property rights
- Priority: Keep government leadership accountable and informed, especially in acquisitions.
Rationale: In light of the large amounts of money to be spent, any specific plan for a transaction of more than $250,000 shall be reported to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate to enhance legislative oversight.
- Priority: Do not bond Amendment 1 funds.
Rationale: Environmentalist have stated their intent to bond Amendment 1 funds and buy as much property and rights immediately as is possible. In order to protect and maintain the stability of Florida’s future economy against unforeseen economic downturns. This will also protect Florida’s budget from unintended and sudden increases in maintenance costs.
- Priority: Limit environmental easements and/or developmental rights paid for by Amendment One funds to 40 years.
Rationale: In order to maximize Florida’s economic future and remain flexible to meet future needs, easements purchased with Amendment 1 funding shall be limited to 40 years. At the conclusion of the 40 year period or the sale of the property, whichever comes first, such rights can be re-negotiated.
- Priority: Draw funding for new hire maintenance employees for conservation lands from Amendment One revenue.
Rationale: The consequences of Amendment 1, especially the recurring costs of new hire government employees to facilitate Amendment 1, should be fully understood by the taxpayers of Florida. The best way to do so is to require anything approved for new spending due to Amendment 1’s passing should be funded only from Amendment 1 documentary stamp money. This should include salaries and benefits associated with new hire personnel.
Coalition for Property Rights