Florida water management boards in the Panhandle and South Florida have some familiar faces coming back as a Senate committee voted to approve reappointments this week.
No one quite makes an impression like “Alligator” Ron Bergeron, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in his cowboy finest.
“It was a long ride on my horse to get here today, but we made it,” he said.
Bergeron, of Weston, accepted his appointment to the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District. His new term runs through March 2026.
“My family’s been here for eight generations — very proud of that,” Bergeron said. “Raised in the little town of Davie back when it was 500 people, a little agricultural community. Grew up to be a cowboy and a businessman, and been successful enough to be able to give half my time over the last 25 years to make a difference for others.
“I think the responsibility of South Florida water management, having Everglades restoration, the largest environmental restoration in the history of the world, is extremely important to 9 million people.”
As the region and state grows economically, he said, there needs to be certain areas preserved to maintain a good quality of life and drinking water.
The committee also approved four for the Northwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board: Ted Everett of Chipley, Anna Upton of Tallahassee, and Panama City residents George Roberts and Nick Patronis.
“I pride myself on being a fiscal conservative and making sure we use our taxpayer resources wisely,” said Upton, CEO of the Everglades Trust. “I’m the resident attorney on the Board. We don’t have an in-house, full-time general counsel, so I think that’s the role that I bring, and I’m able to serve on our board and give some legal advice.”
Her term expires in March 2024. Everett’s term lasts until March 2025. He serves as the Executive Director of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce and chairs Opportunity Florida.
“This is one of my passions,” Everett said. “I’ve been serving with the water management district now for over seven years. I will tell you this is the one Board that truly I truly enjoy serving on, as what we do throughout our region is we really do use our taxpayers’ money wisely.
“We do a lot of appropriations so that we can help smaller cities with their sewer system so that we can clean up the water. We spent a lot of money taking nitrates out of the ground by using drip systems….”
Roberts, Vice President of a home construction firm, and Patronis, owner of a seafood restaurant and market, accepted their reappointments but sent letters to the committee expressing their regrets at being unable to attend because of previously scheduled travel. Both men’s terms run through March 2026.
March 21, 2023 at 1:29 am
Another Republican water board means that absolutely nothing will be done to solve Florida’s clean water crisis!
March 21, 2023 at 9:12 am
So a home builder, a lawyer, and a cowboy are responsible for “trying to keep our water clean”. This sounds like something fascists (all republicans) claim about “blue cities” being run by drag queens, immigrants and Antifa.
What a joke. Our water is toxic anyway. Ask some of your rural county commissioners. They’ll tell you the truth.
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