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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 259
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F.S. 259.042
259.042 Tax increment financing for conservation lands.
(1) Two or more counties, or a combination of at least one county and one or more municipalities, may establish, through an interlocal agreement, a tax increment area for conservation lands. The interlocal agreement, at a minimum, must:
(a) Identify the geographic boundaries of the tax increment area;
(b) Identify the real property to be acquired as conservation land within the tax increment area;
(c) Establish the percentage of tax increment financing for each jurisdiction in the tax increment area which is a party to the interlocal agreement;
(d) Identify the governing body of the jurisdiction that will administer a separate reserve account in which the tax increment will be deposited;
(e) Require that any tax increment revenues not used to purchase conservation lands by a date certain be refunded to the parties to the interlocal agreement. Any refund shall be proportionate to the parties’ payment of tax increment revenues into the separate reserve account;
(f) Provide for an annual audit of the separate reserve account;
(g) Designate an entity to hold title to any conservation lands purchased using the tax increment revenues;
(h) Provide for a continuing management plan for the conservation lands; and
(i) Identify the entity that will manage these conservation lands.
(2) The water management district in which conservation lands proposed for purchase under this section are located may also enter into the interlocal agreement if the district provides any funds for the purchase of the conservation lands. The water management districts may only use ad valorem tax revenues for agreements described within this section.
(3) The governing body of the jurisdiction that will administer the separate reserve account shall provide documentation to the Department of Economic Opportunity identifying the boundary of the tax increment area. The department shall determine whether the boundary is appropriate in that property owners within the boundary will receive a benefit from the proposed purchase of identified conservation lands. The department must issue a letter of approval stating that the establishment of the tax increment area and the proposed purchases would benefit property owners within the boundary and serve a public purpose before any tax increment funds are deposited into the separate reserve account. If the department fails to provide the required letter within 90 days after receiving sufficient documentation of the boundary, the establishment of the area and the proposed purchases are deemed to provide such benefit and serve a public purpose.
(4) Prior to the purchase of conservation lands under this section, the Department of Environmental Protection must determine whether the proposed purchase is sufficient to provide additional recreational and ecotourism opportunities for residents in the tax increment area. If the department fails to provide a letter of approval within 90 days after receipt of the request for such a letter, the purchase is deemed sufficient to provide recreation and ecotourism opportunities.
(5) The tax increment authorized under this section shall be determined annually and may not exceed 95 percent of the difference in ad valorem taxes as provided in s. 163.387(1)(a).
(6) A separate reserve account must be established for each tax increment area for conservation lands which is created under this section. The separate reserve account must be administered pursuant to the terms of the interlocal agreement. Tax increment funds allocated to this separate reserve account shall be used to acquire the real property identified for purchase in the interlocal agreement. Pursuant to the interlocal agreement, the governing body of the local government that will administer the separate reserve account may spend increment revenues to purchase the real property only if all parties to the interlocal agreement adopt a resolution approving the purchase price.
(7) The annual funding of the separate reserve account may not be less than the increment income of each taxing authority which is held as provided in the interlocal agreement for the purchase of conservation lands.
(8) Unless otherwise provided in the interlocal agreement, a taxing authority that does not pay the tax increment revenues to the separate reserve account by January 1 shall pay interest on the amount of unpaid increment revenues equal to 1 percent for each month that the increment revenue remains outstanding.
(9) The public bodies and taxing authorities listed in s. 163.387(2)(c), school districts, and special districts that levy ad valorem taxes within a tax increment area are exempt from this section.
(10) Revenue bonds under this section are payable solely out of revenues pledged to and received by the local government administering the separate reserve account and deposited into the separate reserve account. The revenue bonds issued under this section do not constitute a debt, liability, or obligation of a public body, the state, or any of the state’s political subdivisions.
History.s. 8, ch. 2007-204; s. 31, ch. 2012-96; s. 2, ch. 2016-155.