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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XI
COUNTY ORGANIZATION AND INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS
Chapter 163
INTERGOVERNMENTAL PROGRAMS
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F.S. 163.511
163.511 Special neighborhood improvement districts; creation; referendum; board of directors; duration; extension.
(1) After a local planning ordinance has been adopted authorizing the creation of special neighborhood improvement districts, the governing body of a municipality or county may declare the need for and create special residential or business neighborhood improvement districts by the enactment of a separate ordinance for each district, which ordinance:
(a) Conditions the implementation of the ordinance on the approval of a referendum as provided in subsection (2).
(b) Authorizes the special neighborhood improvement district to levy an ad valorem tax on real and personal property of up to 2 mills annually.
(c) Authorizes the use of special assessments to support planning and implementation of district improvements pursuant to the provisions of s. 163.514(16), including community policing innovations.
(d) Specifies the boundaries, size, and name of the district.
(e) Authorizes the district to receive a planning grant from the department.
(f) Provides for the appointment of a 3-member board of directors for the district.
(g) May authorize a special neighborhood improvement district to exercise the power of eminent domain pursuant to chapters 73 and 74. Any property identified for eminent domain by the district shall be subject to the approval of the local governing body before eminent domain procedures are exercised.
(h) May prohibit the use of any district power authorized by s. 163.514.
(i) Requires the district to notify the Department of Legal Affairs and the Department of Economic Opportunity in writing of its establishment within 30 days thereof pursuant to s. 163.5055.
(j) May authorize a special neighborhood improvement district to develop and implement community policing innovations in consultation with the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction within the district boundaries.
(2) A referendum to implement a special residential or business neighborhood improvement district shall be held within 120 days after the occurrence of one of the following:
(a) The governing body of the municipality or county declares, by the enactment of a separate ordinance pursuant to subsection (1), that there is a need for a special residential or business neighborhood improvement district to function within a proposed area; or
(b) A petition containing the signatures of 40 percent of the electors of a proposed special residential neighborhood improvement district area or 20 percent of the property owners of a proposed special business neighborhood improvement district area is presented to the county commission of a county, if the proposed area is located in the unincorporated area of the county, or to the governing body of a municipality, if the proposed area is located within the incorporated limits of the municipality. The petition shall define the proposed area and shall state that it is for the purpose of calling a referendum to determine whether a special residential or business neighborhood improvement district should be created in such proposed area.
(3)(a) The referendum to implement a special residential neighborhood improvement district ordinance shall be held as prescribed in this subsection.
(b) Within 45 days from the date the governing body of the municipality or county, whichever is appropriate, enacts an ordinance pursuant to subsection (1), or is presented with a petition pursuant to paragraph (2)(b), so that the boundaries of the proposed improvement district are defined, the city clerk or the supervisor of elections, whichever is appropriate, shall certify such ordinance or petition and compile a list of the names and last known addresses of the electors in the proposed special residential neighborhood improvement district from the list of registered voters of the county as of the last day of the month preceding that in which the ordinance was enacted or the petition was presented, and the same shall constitute the registration list for the purposes of the referendum required under this subsection, except as otherwise provided in this subsection.
(c) Within 45 days from compilation of the voter registration list pursuant to paragraph (b), the city clerk or the supervisor of elections shall notify each such elector of the general provisions of this section, including the taxing authority and the date of the upcoming referendum. Notification shall be by United States mail and, in addition thereto, by publication one time in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or municipality in which the district is located.
(d) Any resident of the district whose name does not appear on the list compiled pursuant to paragraph (b) may register to vote as provided by law. The registration list shall remain open for 75 days after enactment of the ordinance defining the special neighborhood improvement district or after presentation of the petition calling for creation of the district.
(e)1. Within 15 days after the closing of registration, the city clerk or the supervisor of elections shall send a ballot to each elector at his or her last known mailing address by first-class United States mail. The ballot shall include:
a. A description of the general provisions of this section applicable to special residential neighborhood improvement districts; and
b. Immediately following said information, the following:

“Do you favor the creation of the     Special Residential Neighborhood Improvement District and approve the levy of up to 2 mills of ad valorem taxes by such proposed district?

 Yes, for the Special Residential Neighborhood Improvement District.

 No, against the Special Residential Neighborhood Improvement District.”

2. Ballots shall be returned by United States mail, or by personal delivery.
(f) All ballots received within 120 days after enactment of the ordinance or presentation of the petition defining the district shall be tabulated by the city clerk or the supervisor of elections, who shall certify the results thereof to the city council or county commission no later than 5 days after said 120-day period.
(g) The electors shall be deemed to have approved of the provisions of this section at such time as the city clerk or the supervisor of elections certifies to the governing body of the municipality or county that approval has been given by a majority of the electors voting in the referendum.
(4)(a) The referendum to implement a special business neighborhood improvement district ordinance shall be held as prescribed in this subsection.
(b) Within 45 days from the date the governing body of the municipality or county, whichever is appropriate, enacts an ordinance pursuant to subsection (1), or is presented with a petition pursuant to paragraph (2)(b), so that the boundaries of the proposed improvement district are defined, the city clerk or the supervisor of elections, whichever is appropriate, shall certify such ordinance or petition and compile a list of the names and last known addresses of the freeholders in the proposed special business neighborhood improvement district from the tax assessment roll of the county applicable as of the thirty-first day of December in the year preceding the year in which the ordinance was enacted or the petition was presented, and the same shall constitute the registration list for the purposes of the freeholders’ referendum required under this subsection, except as otherwise provided in this subsection.
(c) Within 45 days from compilation of the freeholders’ registration list pursuant to paragraph (b), the city clerk or the supervisor of elections shall notify each such freeholder of the general provisions of this section, including the taxing authority and the date of the upcoming referendum, and the method provided for submitting corrections to the registration list should the status of the freeholder have changed since the compilation of the tax rolls. Notification shall be by United States mail and, in addition thereto, by publication one time in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or municipality in which the district is located.
(d) Any freeholder whose name does not appear on the tax rolls compiled pursuant to paragraph (b) may register to vote with the city clerk or the supervisor of elections. The registration list shall remain open for 75 days after enactment of the ordinance defining the special business neighborhood improvement district or after presentation of the petition calling for creation of the district.
(e)1. Within 15 days after the closing of the registration list, the city clerk or the supervisor of elections shall send a ballot to each registered freeholder at his or her last known mailing address by first-class United States mail. The ballot shall include:
a. A description of the general provisions of this section applicable to special business neighborhood improvement districts;
b. The assessed value of the freeholder’s property;
c. The percent of the freeholder’s interest in such property; and
d. Immediately following said information, the following:

“Do you favor the creation of the     Special Business Neighborhood Improvement District and approve the levy of up to 2 mills of ad valorem taxes by such proposed district?

 Yes, for the Special Business Neighborhood Improvement District.

 No, against the Special Business Neighborhood Improvement District.”

2. Ballots shall be returned by United States mail or by personal delivery.
(f) All ballots received within 120 days after enactment of the ordinance or presentation of the petition defining the district shall be tabulated by the city clerk or the supervisor of elections, who shall certify the results thereof to the city council or county commission no later than 5 days after said 120-day period.
(g) The freeholders shall be deemed to have approved of the provisions of this section at such time as the city clerk or the supervisor of elections certifies to the governing body of the municipality or county that approval has been given by freeholders representing in excess of 50 percent of the assessed value of the property within the special business neighborhood improvement district.
(5)(a) The city clerk or the supervisor of elections, whichever is appropriate, shall enclose with each ballot sent pursuant to this section two envelopes: a secrecy envelope, into which the elector or freeholder shall enclose the marked ballot; and a mailing envelope, into which the elector or freeholder shall then place the secrecy envelope, which shall be addressed to the city clerk or the supervisor of elections. The back side of the mailing envelope shall bear a certificate in substantially the following form:

Note: Please Read Instructions Carefully Before

Marking Ballot and Completing Voter’s Certificate.

VOTER’S CERTIFICATE

I,  , am a duly qualified and registered   (voter or freeholder, whichever is appropriate)   of the proposed   (name) (Special Residential or Business, whichever is appropriate)   Neighborhood Improvement District; and I am entitled to vote this ballot. I do solemnly swear or affirm that I have not and will not vote more than one ballot in this election. I understand that failure to sign this certificate and have my signature witnessed will invalidate my ballot.

  (Voter’s Signature)  

Note: Your Signature Must Be Witnessed By One Witness 18 Years of Age or Older as provided in the Instruction Sheet.

I swear or affirm that the elector signed this Voter’s Certificate in my presence.

  (Signature of Witness)  

  (Address)         (City/State)  

(b) The certificate shall be arranged on the back of the mailing envelope so that the lines for the signatures of the elector or freeholder and the attesting witness are across the seal of the envelope; however, no statement shall appear on the envelope which indicates that a signature of the elector, freeholder, or witness must cross the seal of the envelope. The elector or freeholder and the attesting witness shall execute the certificate on the envelope.
(6) The city clerk or the supervisor of elections shall enclose with each ballot sent to an elector or freeholder pursuant to this section separate printed instructions in substantially the following form:

READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY
BEFORE MARKING BALLOT.

1. VERY IMPORTANT. In order to ensure that your ballot will be counted, it should be completed and returned as soon as possible so that it can reach the city clerk or the supervisor of elections no later than 7 p.m. on the (final day of the 120-day period given here).

2. Mark your ballot in secret as instructed on the ballot.

3. Place your marked ballot in the enclosed secrecy envelope.

4. Insert the secrecy envelope into the enclosed mailing envelope, which is addressed to the city clerk or the supervisor of elections.

5. Seal the mailing envelope and completely fill out the Voter’s Certificate on the back of the mailing envelope.

6. VERY IMPORTANT. Sign your name on the line provided for “(Voter’s Signature).”

7. VERY IMPORTANT. In order for your ballot to be counted, it must include the signature and address of a witness 18 years of age or older affixed to the Voter’s Certificate.

8. Mail, deliver, or have delivered the completed mailing envelope. Be sure there is sufficient postage if mailed.

(7) The business and affairs of a special neighborhood improvement district shall be conducted and administered by a board of three directors who shall be residents of the proposed area and who are subject to ad valorem taxation in the district. Upon their appointment and qualification and in January of each year, the directors shall organize by electing from their number a chair and a secretary, and may also employ staff and legal representatives as deemed appropriate, who shall serve at the pleasure of the board and may receive such compensation as shall be fixed by the board. The secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings of the district and shall be custodian of all books and records of the district. The directors shall not receive any compensation for their services, nor may they be employed by the district.
(8) Within 30 days of the approval of the creation of a special neighborhood improvement district, if the district is in a municipality, a majority of the governing body of the municipality, or if the district is in the unincorporated area of the county, a majority of the county commission, shall appoint the three directors provided for herein for staggered terms of 3 years. The initial appointments shall be as follows: one for a 1-year term, one for a 2-year term, and one for a 3-year term. Each director shall hold office until his or her successor is appointed and qualified unless the director ceases to be qualified to act as a director or is removed from office. Vacancies on the board shall be filled for the unexpired portion of a term in the same manner as the initial appointments were made.
(9) Reappointment of the directors shall be accomplished in the same manner as the original appointments by the governing body of the municipality or county 2 months prior to the reappointment date.
(10) The governing body of a municipality or county may remove a director for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or misconduct in office only after a hearing and only if he or she has been given a copy of the charges at least 10 days prior to such hearing and has had an opportunity to be heard in person or by counsel. A vacancy so created shall be filled as provided herein.
(11) The district may employ a manager, who shall be a person of recognized ability and experience, to serve at the pleasure of the district. The manager may employ such employees as may be necessary for the proper administration of the duties and functions of the district. However, the district shall approve such positions and fix compensation for such employees. The district may contract for the services of attorneys, engineers, consultants, and agents for any lawful purpose of the district.
(12) The directors shall be subject to the code of ethics for public officers and employees as set forth in part III of chapter 112 and to the requirements of the public records law and public meetings law in chapters 119 and 286, respectively.
(13) Any special neighborhood improvement district created pursuant to this part shall cease to exist at the end of the tenth fiscal year of operation. Such a district may continue in operation for subsequent 10-year periods if the continuation of the district is approved at a referendum conducted pursuant to this part. Said referendum shall be held upon one of the occurrences specified in subsection (2). Should the district cease to exist, all property owned by the district shall become property of the municipality or county in which the district is located.
(14) In the event the district is dissolved, the property owners in the district shall make alternate arrangements acceptable to the debtholders and local governments pertaining to payment of debts.
History.s. 61, ch. 87-243; s. 28, ch. 88-381; s. 9, ch. 91-86; s. 908, ch. 95-147; s. 10, ch. 96-57; s. 14, ch. 98-314; s. 29, ch. 2003-415; s. 21, ch. 2012-96.