Frozen fees: Gov. DeSantis nixes potential hike in wastewater assessments in Brevard Co. water district

The local bill would have doubled fees the District could assess per acre.

It looks like a cap on stormwater management fees assessed by the Melbourne-Tillman Water Control District will remain at the same level.

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a local bill (HB 821) that would have increased the maximum level of those fees.

State law allows the District to charge $25 per acre on residential properties, $8.50 per acre on agricultural land and $52.50 per acre on commercial. The legislation would have doubled the amount the district could charge.

DeSantis didn’t want a part in that.

“This will likely lead to Brevard County taxpayers paying higher fees,” DeSantis wrote in a veto transmittal letter.

DeSantis suggested that as the state spends record amounts on water projects across the state, granting extra taxing power to a local District was unnecessary.

“As Florida offers many grant programs (established by my Administration) that support the continued maintenance and construction of Florida’s water management structure, the state should not facilitate the imposition of higher fees to this same effect.”

The bill was championed in the Legislature by Rep. Thad Altman, an Indialantic Republican serving his fourth and final term due to term limits.

The bill received no dissenting votes in either chamber of the Legislature this year, passing in the House on a 112-0 vote and in the Senate via a 40-0 tally. That included supportive votes from every Brevard County lawmaker.

DeSantis notably vetoed legislation in 2019 that was also related to the water district. The 2019 legislation would have changed the makeup of Board members, which attracted coverage from Florida Today at the time.

That bill was also carried by Altman but opposed by Rep. Randy Fine, who at the time was an ally of DeSantis but has since had a falling out over antisemitism in the state and presidential endorsements. Both Fine and Altman supported this year’s effort to raise the fee caps.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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