For Immediate Release: August 24, 2011
SECRETARY ANNOUNCES $700 MILLION IN WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS' BUDGET REDUCTIONS
~Reductions represent significant savings for
taxpayers and a refocus on districts’ core missions~
Secretary Vinyard discusses water management districts budgets during a press conference at DEP offices.
TALLAHASSEE —Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Herschel
T. Vinyard Jr. today announced that after months of cooperation between DEP and
the state’s five water management districts, the districts’ budgets reflect a
year-over-year reduction of more than $700 million. The budgets are a product
of a renewed focus, as directed by Governor Rick Scott, on the water management
districts’ core mission responsibilities of water supply, flood protection,
water quality and natural system protection.
DEP has worked collaboratively with the water management districts to
review, revise and realign their operations, practices and budgets. District
and DEP staff worked diligently to find and implement reductions which include
employee salaries and benefits, staffing levels, debt avoidance and other operational
costs not related to core-mission projects. Despite these reductions, the
districts will continue to manage and protect Florida’s water resources with
more than $1 billion in the next fiscal year.
“Effective and efficient water management is essential to a healthy
economy and a healthy environment,” said Secretary Vinyard. “These budget reductions
are an important first step in ensuring that the water management districts
focus on their core environmental missions, and the reductions reflect a
significant savings for Florida taxpayers.”
Today, Gov. Scott sent letters to the water management districts calling
for additional reductions. The reductions amounted to $2.4 million statewide
which include deferred compensation payments and additional salary and benefits
reductions. For breakdown by district, please see the Governor’s letters posted
Per 373.536 Florida Statutes, each district budget will be submitted to
the Legislative Budget Committee for further review. Each water management
district governing board will vote on their budget at the end of September.
On April 12, 2011, Gov. Scott directed DEP to exercise its statutory
obligation to supervise activities of the state’s five water management districts,
including their water supply and regulatory activities, to ensure statewide
consistency and efficiency is achieved. Gov. Scott and DEP have taken action
and provided guidance to bring water management district operations more in
line with today’s economic climate and ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent
in a prudent and transparent manner.