Florida Special District Handbook Online:
Oversight of Special Districts

Three Oversight Review Processes

Three oversight review processes exist:

  1. Oversight of special districts created by special act of the Legislature that failed to file specific required reports or requested information with the appropriate state agency or office.
  2. Oversight of special districts created by local ordinance or resolution that failed to file specific required reports or information with the appropriate state agency or office.
  3. General oversight review of special districts.

Oversight of special districts created by special act of the Legislature that failed to file specific required reports or requested information with the appropriate state agency or office

If a special district created by special act of the Legislature fails to file required reports or requested information with the appropriate state agency or office, the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee may schedule a public hearing to determine whether the special district should be subject to further state action (see Consequences of Continued Noncompliance). If such a determination is made, the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee may convene another public hearing on the issue of noncompliance, as well as general oversight of the special district (see General oversight review process of special districts), at the direction of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Before this public hearing, the special district must provide the following information to the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee:

  1. The special district's Annual Financial Report for the prior fiscal year.
  2. The special district's Annual Financial Audit Report for the previous fiscal year.
  3. An "Annual Report" for the previous fiscal year that the special district will need to create that provides a detailed review of the performance of the special district, including the following information:
    1. The purpose of the special district.
    2. The sources of funding for the special district.
    3. A description of the major activities, programs, and initiatives the special district undertook in the most recently completed fiscal year and the benchmarks or criteria under which the success or failure of the district was determined by its governing body.
    4. Any challenges or obstacles faced by the special district in fulfilling its purpose and related responsibilities.
    5. Ways the special district believes it could better fulfill its purpose and related responsibilities and a description of the actions that it intends to take during the ensuing fiscal year.
    6. Proposed changes to the special act that established the special district and justification for such changes.
    7. Any other information reasonably required to provide the Legislative Auditing Committee with an accurate understanding of the purpose for which the special district exists and how it is fulfilling its responsibilities to accomplish that purpose.
    8. Any reasons for the special district's noncompliance.
    9. Whether the special district is currently in compliance.
    10. Plans to correct any recurring issues of noncompliance.
    11. Efforts to promote transparency, including maintenance of the special district's website (see Develop and Maintain an Official Website).

Oversight of special districts created by a local ordinance or enacted by a resolution that failed to file specific required reports or information with the appropriate state agency or office

If a special district created by a local ordinance or enacted by a resolution fails to file required reports or requested information with the appropriate state agency or office, the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee may schedule a public hearing to determine whether the special district should be subject to further state action (see Consequences of Continued Noncompliance). If such a determination is made, the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee will provide written notice of the special district's noncompliance to the chair of the county or municipality in which the special district is located.

The chair may convene a public hearing on the issue of noncompliance, as well as general oversight of the special district (see General oversight review process of special districts), within three months after receipt of the notice of noncompliance from the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee. Within 30 days after receiving this notice, the county or municipality must notify the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee as to whether a hearing will be held, and if so, provide the date time and location of the hearing.

Before this public hearing, the special district must provide the following information at the request of the county or municipality:

  1. The special district's Annual Financial Report for the prior fiscal year
  2. The special district's Annual Financial Audit Report for the previous fiscal year.
  3. An "Annual Report" that the special district will need to create for the previous fiscal year that provides a detailed review of the performance of the special district, including the following information:
    1. The purpose of the special district.
    2. The sources of funding for the special district.
    3. A description of the major activities, programs, and initiatives the special district undertook in the most recently completed fiscal year and the benchmarks or criteria under which the success or failure of the district was determined by its governing body.
    4. Any challenges or obstacles faced by the special district in fulfilling its purpose and related responsibilities.
    5. Ways the special district believes it could better fulfill its purpose and related responsibilities and a description of the actions that it intends to take during the ensuing fiscal year.
    6. Proposed changes to the special act that established the special district and justification for such changes.
    7. Any other information reasonably required to provide the Legislative Auditing Committee with an accurate understanding of the purpose for which the special district exists and how it is fulfilling its responsibilities to accomplish that purpose.
    8. Any reasons for the special district's noncompliance.
    9. Whether the special district is currently in compliance.
    10. Plans to correct any recurring issues of noncompliance.
    11. Efforts to promote transparency, including maintenance of the special district's website (see Develop and Maintain an Official Website).

Within 60 days after the hearing, if held, the county or municipality must provide a report containing its findings and conclusions to the following:

  • The Special District Accountability Program
  • The Joint Legislative Auditing Committee

General oversight review process of special districts

A general oversight review process of special districts exists to contribute to informed decision making that may involve the following:

  • The need for its continued existence.
  • Whether to dissolve the special district.
  • The appropriate future role and focus of the special district.
  • Improvements in the functioning or delivery of services by the special district.
  • The need for any transition, adjustment, or special implementation periods or provisions.

Exemptions From the General Oversight Review Process

The following special districts are exempt from the general oversight review process:

An Appropriate Oversight Entity May Conduct a General Oversight Review of a Special District

The appropriate oversight entity depends on how the special district was created:

All special districts, governmental entities, and state agencies must cooperate with the Legislature and with any county or municipality seeking information or assistance with the oversight review process and with the preparation of an oversight review report.

Criteria That The Reviewers Must Consider

Those conducting the oversight review process must, at a minimum, consider the criteria listed below, as applicable, and may also consider any additional factors relating to the special district and its performance:

  1. The degree to which the services of the special district are essential or contribute to the well-being of the community.
  2. The extent of the continuing need for the services of the special district.
  3. The extent of municipal annexation or incorporation activity occurring or likely to occur within the boundaries of the special district and its impact on the delivery of the services.
  4. Whether a less costly alternative method of delivering the services exists.
  5. Whether transfer of the responsibility for delivery of the services to another entity could occur without jeopardizing the special district's existing contracts, bonds, or outstanding indebtedness.
  6. Whether the Auditor General has notified the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee that the special district's audit report indicates that the special district has met any of the financial emergency conditions described in section 218.503(1), Florida Statutes - Determination of Financial Emergency, or that a deteriorating financial condition exists that may cause a financial emergency condition to occur if actions are not taken to address such condition.
  7. Whether the special district is inactive according to the Official List of Special Districts Online - Directory, and whether the special district is meeting and discharging its responsibilities as its charter requires, and projected increases or decreases in special district activity.
  8. Whether the special district has failed to comply with any of its required reporting responsibilities.
  9. Whether the special district has designated a registered office and registered agent.

Anytime, the special district under review may provide to the Legislature, and the county or municipality conducting the review, and/or making decisions based upon the final oversight review report, with written responses to any questions, concerns, preliminary reports, draft reports, or final reports relating to the special district.

Contact Someone Who Can Answer Questions About the Oversight Review Processes

An equal opportunity employer/program.  Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
All voice telephone numbers on this website may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711.
You have selected a link to a website that is outside of the floridajobs.org domain. Control of the content of this website belongs to the website's owner and not to the Department of Economic Opportunity.
OK
 
Cancel