Q. What is a community development district?
A. It is an independent, special taxing district authorized by Chapter 190 of the Florida Statutes to plan, finance, construct, operate and maintain public infrastructure in planned developments.
Q. How does the district affect residents?
A. The district levies an assessment against property each year that represents a pro-rata share of the cost of public infrastructure that was financed by the district. Included in the assessment is a pro-rata share of the cost to administer and maintain the district. The assessment will appear on the property tax bill sent in November of each year. If you have a mortgage on your property and your taxes are escrowed, your assessments will be included in your monthly mortgage payment. In that case, your tax bill will go directly to your mortgage company and be paid from your escrow account.
Q. What can a special taxing district finance?
A. Included in the financing may be such items as roadways, storm water management systems, wetland management and mitigation, water and wastewater utilities, public parking facilities, parks and recreation, amenities, landscaping, entry features and public facilities.
Q. How do residents benefit from special districts?
A. Special districts allow the costs of the improvements to be spread over the life of the bonds rather than included in the price of the initial home sale. Therefore, residents will only pay for the district improvements while they own the property.
Q. Who governs the community development district?
A. Community development districts are governed by a five-member board of supervisors who were initially elected by the landowners within the district on a one acre/one vote basis. Six years after the initial election of supervisors and after the district attains at least 250 qualified electors, supervisors whose terms expire will begin to be elected (as their terms expire) by qualified electors of the district. A qualified elector is a registered voter who is at least eighteen years of age, a resident of the district and the state and a citizen of the United States. At the election where supervisors are first elected by qualified electors, two supervisors must be qualified electors and be elected by qualified electors, one to a four-year term and one to a two-year term. The other supervisor will be elected by landowners for a four-year term. Thereafter, as terms expire, they will be replaced by the qualified electors.
Q. Who manages the community development district?
A. The board of supervisors appoints a district manager who manages the affairs of the district.
Q. What am I paying for in my annual assessment?
A. The annual assessment is comprised of two components: the debt service component and the administration and maintenance component. The debt service component is the larger amount and goes towards paying of the bonds. The administration and maintenance component pays for management services and any necessary on-going maintenance.