Another photo of a ditch with water.
Photo of a ditch with water.
Photo of a ditch with water.

Welcome to the Haines City Water Control District

The Haines City Water Control District (the District) was originally created as the Haines City Drainage District Number 1, Laws of Florida, Chapters 13649 (1929) and 14517 (1929). Currently, the District operates as an independent special district under Chapter 2004-402, Laws of Florida, and under Chapters 189 and 298, Florida Statutes.

The Haines City Water Control District was created for the purposes of maintaining a drainage ditch that meanders in a southerly direction on both the east and west side of U.S. Highway 27 that is located within a defined geographic area lying generally on the western side of the corporate limits of Haines City, Florida, and Polk County.

Notice was previously given by publication in The Ledger of the District's annual consideration of the adoption of non-ad valorem assessments as a part of the annual budget process which necessarily involves levying such assessments to provide adequate revenues to pay for annual operating and capital costs associated with the District’s required water control and planning process, and to create necessary and reasonable reserves. The public hearing was held on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. in the Haines City Public Library, 111 North 6th Street, Haines City, FL. The District’s water control plan and assessments are for the purpose of comprehensive water management and control toward development of lands within the District, and managing water by means of canals, ditches, levees, dikes, pumping, and other water control works and improvements toward making the lands within the District available and habitable for settlement and agriculture, for the public convenience, welfare, utility and benefit, and other purposes as provided by Chapter 298, Florida Statutes, and other applicable law.

In 2018 the District Board recognized a lack of significant reserves, and determined its operations and statutory responsibility required imposition of rates necessary to increase annual reserves and better position the District to receive matching or other funding or contributions from other state or federal agencies. The District Board’s objective was to take guidance from Chapter 298, Florida Statutes, and put in place the minimum rate of non-ad valorem assessment of Fifty Dollars ($50) per acre or portion thereof in each instance for each parcel in the District as provided for in Section 298.349, Florida Statutes, which is recommended for initial or start-up operations.  Such action was then validated by the Circuit Court. The District Board proposes and intends to consider the same rates, fees and charges as imposed last year for Fiscal Year 2020-2021, and to fund substantially the same budget amount as budgeted last year. The District Board will continue to consider actions needed to update the District’s required water control plan, the consequences of past practices, the necessity to create and replenish reasonable reserves in the annual budget, and reasonably and realistically better anticipate costs of District service, operations, capital delivery and administration in the District’s overall budget, and other economic conditions while showing financial and water control stewardship, and in consideration of the required timing for notice and public hearing on the matter - the Notice is necessary and required by law.

Accordingly, provision of water control and actions to make lands within the District available and habitable for settlement and agriculture will likely continue in ensuing years to be funded, almost exclusively, by these assessments apportioned and levied by law on property located within the District.

The amount of revenue the District expects to collect using the specific assessment rates described in this Notice, net of cost for statutory discount for early payment necessarily associated with the use of the uniform method of collection (by law up to 4 percent) and statutory commissions and fees charged by the County constitutional offices of the Polk County Tax Collector and Polk County Property Appraiser (by law up to 2 percent for each), and the District’s cost to partially defray associated roll development, advertising, implementation and administrative costs ($5 per tax parcel) is approximated to be $134,000; and, such revenue must be used exclusively to fund the associated budget for the District.

Payment of the subject non-ad valorem assessment is anticipated to be due and collected as a non-ad valorem assessment on the same bill as taxes to be mailed in early November 2020. The District has also provided the proposed amounts to be assessed for each parcel to the Polk County Property Appraiser to include in the TRIM notices expected to be sent by that office in August pursuant to Section 200.069, Florida Statutes. The collection process by the Polk County Tax Collector for non-ad valorem assessments of this nature is called the uniform method. General law requires that affected property owners be reminded that: Until paid, the District’s non-ad valorem assessment will constitute a lien against assessed property equal in rank and dignity with the liens of all state, county, district, or municipal taxes and other non-ad valorem assessments. Assessments become delinquent in the same manner as for unpaid taxes, and failure to pay the upcoming assessment will cause a tax certificate to be issued against the property which may result in loss of title.

Please note: The noticed rate of assessment herein can be decreased by the District Board, but by law the rate of the assessment noticed herein cannot be increased beyond that noticed without another mailed and published notice of this nature being provided by the District.

What's New?

Owners of land situated in the Haines City Water Control District are hereby notified that the next meeting of the Board of Supervisors has been set for Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at 5:00 PM, or as soon thereafter as may be heard, in the Lobby of the Haines City Public Library, 111 North Sixth Street, Haines City, Florida.

By law, the meetings of the Board of Supervisors are open meetings. All individuals are welcome to attend and be heard.

At any meeting of the Haines City Water Control District any person, his or her agent, or attorney may appear and be heard. Any person desiring to appeal any decision made by the Haines City Water Control District with respect to any matter considered at the a meeting or hearing will need a record of proceedings and that for any such purpose may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which record includes the testimony and evidence upon which the appeal is to be based (Florida Statute  286.0150).
In accordance with the American with Disabilities Act and Florida Statute 286.26, persons with disabilities needing special accommodation to participate in any proceeding should contact the secretary prior to the proceeding at 863-221-2516 for assistance.  If hearing impaired, telephone the Florida Relay Service numbers 1-800-955-8771 (TTY) or 1-800-955-8770 (VOICE) for assistance.

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