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NWFWMD Budget Continues Focus on Water Resource Protection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2014
CONTACT: NWFWMD Public Information Office (850) 539-2663 or Lauren.Engel@nwfwater.com

NWFWMD Budget Continues Focus on Water Resource Protection

PANAMA CITY – The Northwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board last night adopted a $52.5 million budget for the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year, which begins October 1.

The District’s adopted budget reduces the millage rate for taxpayers while maintaining a focus on springs protection; the development of minimum flows and levels for the region’s vital springs and aquifers; water supply grant assistance to local communities; and protection of the Apalachicola River and Bay and St. Andrew Bay watersheds.

The Governing Board adopted a roll-back millage rate of .039, which is less than the 0.04 assessed in FY 2013-2014 and 22 percent below the constitutional and statutory cap of 0.05.

The District’s budget is comprised of a combination of ad valorem revenue, state and federal funding, and other revenues, including timber sales. The District also continues to direct significant levels of state revenue appropriated during prior fiscal years to fund key water resource protection projects.

“This budget reflects our continued commitment to undertaking projects that will greatly benefit the natural resources and communities of Northwest Florida,” said Governing Board Chairman George Roberts.

The District’s budget is built on a foundation of projects that are directly in line with its statutory mission of water supply, water quality, natural system and flood protection, including:

  • $8.2 million for springs restoration and protection. This includes more than $6.8 million that will be invested in Northwest Florida to improve springs ecosystems. This funding is part of the $69 million dedicated for springs protection statewide that was approved by Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature in 2014.
  •  $2.4 million for the development of minimum flows and levels (MFLs). This funding will be used to help the District accomplish its ambitious schedule to develop MFLs—a major component of its overall effort to ensure the long-term protection and sustainability of Northwest Florida’s water resources. The District continues to move forward with the intensive hydrologic, ecologic and water quality data collection vital to a successful MFL program.
  • $15 million for water supply development assistance to local governments and non-profit utilities.  This includes $8 million for a new cycle of competitive grant funding designed to help communities in Northwest Florida meet local water supply challenges, building on nearly $15.5 million in water supply grants awarded across 14 counties during the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year.
  • $3.8 million for the protection and restoration of the Apalachicola River and Bay watershed. The District will continue to partner with state and local agencies to improve the health of this environmentally and economically crucial natural system. This includes funding a series of stormwater retrofit projects in cooperation with the cities of Apalachicola and Carrabelle to improve water quality in Apalachicola Bay and provide needed flood relief for residents.
  • $3.6 million for the restoration and protection of the St. Andrew Bay watershed. This includes grant funding assistance to local governments for water quality improvement activities, including four stormwater retrofit projects that will treat runoff generated from more than 500 acres of drainage area.

The Northwest Florida Water Management District strives to protect and manage the region’s water resources in a manner that benefits both the people and natural resources across the 16-county region of the Florida Panhandle. More information on the District, including a copy of the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Budget, can be found at nwfwater.com.

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