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TITLE XXI

DRAINAGE

Last update: 2013-11-01


  • Drainage And Water Control
  • Version 2013-11-01
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  • Version 2011-11-08

Chapter 298

DRAINAGE AND WATER CONTROL

298.001 - Districts designated as “water control” districts

A water management district or a drainage district heretofore or hereafter created pursuant to the method authorized in this chapter or a water management district created by special act to operate under the authority of this chapter shall be designated as a water control district.


History.- s. 1, ch. 78-153.

298.005 - Definitions

As used in this chapter, the term:
  • (1) “Jurisdictional water management district” means the chapter 373 water management district or districts within which the lands encompassed by a water control district are located.

  • (2) “Owner” means the owner of the freehold estate, subject to assessment pursuant to this chapter, as appears by the deed record. The term does not include reversioners, remaindermen, or mortgagees, who are not to be counted and need not be notified by publication or served by process, but are to be represented by the present owners of the freehold estate in any proceeding under this chapter.

  • (3) “Water control plan” means the comprehensive operational document that describes the activities and improvements to be conducted by a water control district authorized under this chapter and includes any district “plan of reclamation,” “water management plan,” or “plan of improvement” that details the system of water management improvements implemented by a water control district.

History.- s. 38, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1135; CGL 1490; s. 1, ch. 97-40; s. 1, ch. 98-329; s. 4, ch. 2000-308.

Note.- Former s. 298.68.


298.01 - Formation of water control district

It is the legislative intent that those water control districts established prior to July 1, 1980, pursuant to the process formerly contained in ss. 298.01, 298.02, and 298.03, may continue to operate as outlined in this chapter. However, on and after that date, no water control district may be created except pursuant to s. 125.01 or a special act of the Legislature. Upon formation of a water control district by a special act of the Legislature, the circuit court of the county in which a majority of the land within the district is located shall thereafter maintain and have original and exclusive jurisdiction, coextensive with the boundaries and limits of the water control district without regard to county lines, for all purposes of this chapter.


History.- s. 1, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1098; CGL 1451; s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 72-291; s. 1, ch. 79-5; s. 17, ch. 79-65; s. 1, ch. 80-281.

298.11 - Landowners’ meetings; election of board of supervisors; duties of Department of Environmental Protection

  • (1) Within 20 days after the effective date of a special act creating a district, notice of a landowners’ meeting shall be given as provided in the special act. The notice shall be published once a week for 2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in each county in which lands of the district are located, the last publication to be not less than 10 nor more than 15 days before the date of the meeting. The meeting of the owners of the lands located in the district shall be scheduled, at a day and hour specified, at some public place in the county within which most of the district lands are located, for the purpose of electing a board of three supervisors, to be composed of owners of the lands in the district and residents of the county or counties in which the district is located.

  • (2) The landowners, when assembled, shall organize by the election of a chair and secretary of the meeting, who shall conduct the election. At the election, each and every acre of assessable land in the district shall represent one share, and each owner shall be entitled to one vote in person or by proxy in writing duly signed, for every acre of assessable land owned by him or her in the district, and the three persons receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected as supervisors. The appointment of proxies shall comply with s. 607.0722. Landowners owning less than 1 assessable acre in the aggregate shall be entitled to one vote. Landowners with more than 1 assessable acre are entitled to one additional vote for any fraction of an acre greater than 1/2 acre, when all of the landowners’ acreage has been aggregated for purposes of voting. The landowners shall at such election determine the length of the terms of office of each supervisor so elected by them, which shall be respectively 1, 2, and 3 years, and they shall serve until their successors shall have been elected and qualified.

  • (3) The Department of Environmental Protection, at any such meeting, may represent the state, and shall have the right to vote for supervisors, or upon any matter that may come properly before said meeting to the extent of the acreage owned by the state in such district, provided such acreage is subject to assessment by the water control district, which vote may be cast by any person designated by said department. Guardians may represent their wards, executors and administrators may represent estates of deceased persons, and private corporations may be represented by their officers or duly authorized agents. The owners and proxy holders of district acreage who are present at a duly noticed landowners’ meeting shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of holding such election or any election thereafter.

  • (4) Any elected or appointed supervisor may be removed by the Governor for malfeasance, misfeasance, dishonesty, incompetency, or failure to perform the duties imposed upon him or her by this chapter, and any vacancies which may occur in any such office so filled by appointment shall be filled by the Governor as soon as practicable.

History.- s. 4, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1101; CGL 1454; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 7, ch. 72-291; s. 1, ch. 76-181; s. 4, ch. 79-5; s. 22, ch. 79-65; s. 22, ch. 91-221; s. 120, ch. 94-356; s. 885, ch. 95-148; s. 2, ch. 97-40; s. 2, ch. 98-329; s. 5, ch. 2000-308.

298.12 - Annual election of supervisors; term of office; vacancy

  • (1) Every year in the same month after the time for the election of the first board of supervisors, it shall call a meeting of the landowners in the district in the same manner as is provided for in s. 298.11, and the owners of land in such district shall meet at the stated time and place and elect one supervisor. Owners whose assessments have not been paid for the previous year are not entitled to vote. In case of their failure to elect, the Governor shall appoint such supervisor, who shall hold the supervisor’s office for 3 years or until his or her successor is elected and qualified; and in case of a vacancy in any office of supervisor elected by the landowners, the remaining supervisors or, if they fail to act within 30 days, the Governor may fill such vacancy until the next annual meeting, when a successor shall be elected for the unexpired term.

  • (2) A vacancy in any of the three elected positions on the Melbourne-Tillman Water Control District Board of Supervisors which is not filled by a vote of the district’s landowners pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be filled by the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners within 30 days. The supervisor so appointed shall fill such vacancy until the next annual meeting when a successor shall be elected by the landowners for the unexpired portion of the term. A vacancy in any of the two appointed supervisor positions shall be filled by the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners within 30 days.

History.- s. 5, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1102; CGL 1455; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 2, ch. 76-181; s. 5, ch. 79-5; s. 121, ch. 94-356; s. 886, ch. 95-148; s. 3, ch. 97-40; s. 3, ch. 98-329; s. 6, ch. 2000-308.

298.13 - Supervisor’s oath of office

Each supervisor, before entering upon his or her official duties, shall take and subscribe to an oath before some officer authorized by law to administer oaths, that the supervisor will honestly, faithfully and impartially perform the duties devolving upon him or her in office, as supervisor of the district in which he or she was elected or appointed, and that the supervisor will not neglect any of the duties imposed upon him or her by this chapter.


History.- s. 6, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1103; CGL 1456; s. 6, ch. 79-5; s. 261, ch. 95-148.

298.14 - Organization of board; annual reports to landowners; compensation of members of board

Immediately after their election or appointment, the board of supervisors shall meet at some convenient place; choose one of their number to serve as president of the board; and elect as secretary some suitable person, who may or may not be a member of the board, and who may be required to execute bond for the faithful performance of the secretary’s duties, as the board of supervisors may require. Such board shall adopt a seal with a suitable device; and it shall keep a record of all of its proceedings in a substantially bound book to be kept for that purpose, which shall be open to inspection by any interested person or the person’s agent or attorney. The board of supervisors shall report to the landowners, at the annual meeting held under the provisions of s. 298.12, of what work has been done, either by engineers or otherwise. The members of the board shall be reimbursed for their travel expenses pursuant to s. 112.061, but shall receive no compensation for their service unless the landowners at the annual meeting determine to pay a compensation, which in no event may exceed $50 per day for the time actually engaged in work for the district and in attending sessions of the board; however, if the secretary is a member of the board, he or she is entitled to compensation as provided in this chapter.


History.- s. 7, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1104; CGL 1457; s. 11, ch. 63-400; s. 1, ch. 65-517; s. 1, ch. 83-170; s. 262, ch. 95-148.

298.15 - Record of proceedings

The board of supervisors of any district organized under this chapter shall cause to be kept a well-bound book, entitled “record of board of supervisors of   district,” in which shall be recorded minutes of all meetings, proceedings, certificates, bonds given by all employees and any and all corporate acts, which record shall at all times be open to the inspection of anyone interested, whether taxpayer or bondholder. Copies of the record of proceedings shall be filed with the jurisdictional water management district upon request. Any interested person, whether landowner or not, shall be permitted to inspect the record of proceedings.


History.- s. 28, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1125; CGL 1478; s. 8, ch. 72-291; s. 23, ch. 79-65; s. 122, ch. 94-356; s. 4, ch. 97-40.

298.16 - Appointment of district engineer; engineer’s duties

  • (1) Within 30 days after organizing, the board of supervisors shall appoint a district engineer, who may be an individual, copartnership, or corporation, and who shall engage such assistants as the board of supervisors may approve. Such district engineer shall faithfully and honestly perform all the duties required of him or her by said supervisors, and deliver to his or her successor all instruments, papers, maps, documents, and other things that may have come into the district engineer’s hands by virtue of his or her employment.

  • (2) The district engineer shall have control of the engineering work in said district and may, whenever he or she deems it necessary, confer with the jurisdictional water management district, and he or she may, by and with the consent of the board of supervisors, consult any eminent engineer and obtain his or her opinion and advice concerning the reclamation of lands in said districts. The said engineer shall make all necessary surveys of the lands within the boundary lines of said district, as described in the petition, and of all lands adjacent thereto that will be improved or reclaimed in part or in whole by any system of drainage that may be outlined and adopted.

  • (3) The engineer shall make a report in writing to the board of supervisors, with maps and profiles of said surveys, which report shall contain a full and complete water control plan for draining and reclaiming the lands described in the petition, or adjacent thereto, from overflow or damage by water, with the length, width, and depth of such canals, ditches, dikes or levees, or other works that may be necessary, in conjunction with any canals, drains, ditches, dikes, levees or other works heretofore constructed or built by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, or any other person, that may now be in process of construction, or which may be hereafter built by them, that may be necessary or which can be advantageously used in such water control plan; and also, an estimate of the costs of carrying out and completing the water control plan, including the cost of superintending the same and all incidental expenses in connection therewith. Maps and profiles shall also indicate so far as necessary the physical characteristics of the lands, and location of any public roads, railroads and other rights-of-way, roadways and other property or improvements located on such lands. A copy of the report required by this section shall be filed with the jurisdictional water management district.

History.- s. 8, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1105; CGL 1458; ss. 25, 27, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 9, ch. 72-291; s. 24, ch. 79-65; s. 123, ch. 94-356; s. 887, ch. 95-148; s. 5, ch. 97-40; s. 4, ch. 98-329.

298.17 - Appointment and duties of treasurer of district; appointment of deputies; bond of treasurer; audit of books; disbursements by warrant; form of warrant

The board of supervisors in any district shall select and appoint some competent person, bank or trust company, organized under the laws of the state, as treasurer of such district, who shall receive and receipt for all the drainage taxes collected by the county collector or collectors, and the treasurer shall also receive and receipt for the proceeds of all tax sales made under the provisions of this chapter. Said treasurer shall receive such compensation as may be fixed by the board of supervisors. Said board of supervisors shall also have the authority to employ a fiscal agent, who shall be either a resident of the state or some corporation organized under the laws of Florida and authorized by such laws to act as such fiscal agent for municipal corporations, who shall assist in the keeping of the tax books, collections of taxes, the remitting of funds to pay maturing bonds and coupons, and perform such other service in the general management of the fiscal and clerical affairs of the district as may be determined by such board; and said board shall have the right to define the duties of such fiscal agent and fix its compensation. Said board of supervisors shall furnish the secretary and the treasurer with necessary office room, furniture, stationery, maps, plats, typewriter, and postage. The secretary and the treasurer, or either of them, may appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the board of supervisors, one or more deputies as may be necessary. Said treasurer shall give bond in such amount as shall be fixed by the board of supervisors, conditioned that the treasurer will well and truly account for and pay out, as provided by law, all moneys received by him or her as taxes from the county collector, and the proceeds from tax sales for delinquent taxes, and from any other source whatever on account or claim of said district, which bond shall be signed by at least two sureties, or by some surety or bonding company, approved and accepted by said board of supervisors, and said bond shall be in addition to the bond for proceeds of sales of bonds, which is required by s. 298.47. Said bond shall be placed and remain in the custody of the president of the board of supervisors, and shall be kept separate from all papers in the custody of the secretary or treasurer. Said treasurer shall keep all funds received by him or her from any source whatever deposited at all times in some bank, banks, or trust company to be designated by the board of supervisors. All interest accruing on such funds shall, when paid, be credited to the district. The board of supervisors shall audit or have audited the books of the said treasurer of said district at least once each year and make a report thereof to the landowners at the annual meeting and publish a statement within 30 days thereafter, showing the amount of money received, the amount paid out during such year, and the amount in the treasury at the beginning and end of the year. A certified copy of said annual audit shall be filed with the state auditor. The treasurer of the district shall pay out funds of the district only on warrants issued by the district, said warrants to be signed by the president of the board of supervisors and attested by the signature of the secretary. All warrants shall be in the following form:$  Fund   No. of Warrant  Treasurer of   Water Control District, State of Florida. Pay to     Dollars out of the money in   fund of   Water Control District. For  By order of board of supervisors of   Water Control District, Florida.  (President of District.)  Attest:       (Secretary of District.)  


History.- s. 25, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1122; s. 1, ch. 9129, 1923; CGL 1475; s. 10, ch. 72-291; s. 7, ch. 79-5; s. 263, ch. 95-148.

298.18 - Supervisors to employ attorney for district; duty of attorney

The board of supervisors within 30 days after organizing shall employ an attorney to act for the district and to advise said board. Such employment shall be evidenced by an agreement in writing, which, as far as possible, shall specify the exact amount to be paid to said attorney for all services and expenses. Such attorney shall conduct all legal proceedings and suits in court where the district is a party or interested, and shall in all legal matters advise the said board of supervisors, all officers, employees or agents of said district and board, and generally look after and attend to all matters of a legal nature for said board and district. When the said board may deem it necessary, it may, by and with the advice of said attorney, and under the like terms and conditions as above set forth, employ another attorney.


History.- s. 27, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1124; CGL 1477.

298.19 - Appointment and duties of superintendent of plant and operations and overseers

For the purpose of preserving any ditch, drain, dike, levee or other work constructed or erected under the provisions of this chapter and for the taking care and the operation of the equipment owned by said district and the maintenance of the canals and other works of said district, including the removal of obstructions from the same, and such other duties as may be prescribed by said board, the board of supervisors may employ a superintendent of plant and operations who shall have charge and supervision of the works of the district after the construction of the same, and said board also may employ or appoint an overseer or overseers who shall hold their positions at the will of the board, and who shall assist said superintendent in the performance of the work aforesaid.


History.- s. 40, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1137; s. 1, ch. 9129, 1923; CGL 1492.

298.20 - Supervisors to fix compensation for work and employees

The board of supervisors, except where otherwise provided, shall, by resolution, at time of hiring or appointing, provide for the compensation for work done by any officer, engineer, attorney, or other employee and shall also pay the fees, and necessary expenses of all court and county officers who may, by virtue of this chapter, render service to said district. Reimbursement of travel expenses shall be made as provided by s. 112.061. It is understood that the ordinary fee statute does not apply to services rendered under this chapter by any county officer, but each such officer shall receive only a reasonable compensation for services actually rendered, the same to be fixed by the court in which the proceeding is pending, except where otherwise provided in this chapter, that said districts or petitioners for such corporations may prepare, write or print all copies of petitions, writs, orders, and decrees or other papers, and furnish same to the clerk or other officer for his or her use, and in such event said officer shall be entitled to receive as compensation for issuing the said writs and copies of petitions, decrees, orders, or other papers, only the reasonable value of the services actually rendered.


History.- s. 37, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1134; CGL 1489; s. 19, ch. 63-400; s. 8, ch. 79-5; s. 264, ch. 95-148.

298.21 - Supervisors may remove officers and employees

The board of supervisors may at any time remove any officer, attorney, chief engineer or other employee appointed or employed by said board.


History.- s. 47, ch. 6458, 1913; RGS 1144; CGL 1501.