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Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. South Florida Water Management District

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20028
Nos. Nos. SC 09-1817, (Fla. , 11/18/2010)

The Supreme Court of Florida affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court decision validating $650 million in "certificates of participation" to finance a water district's purchase of 73,000 acres of land owned by a sugar company for Everglades restoration purposes. Certificates of participation are a type of revenue bond that government agencies may issue to finance the undertaking of any capital, land acquisition, or other project for the purposes permitted by the state constitution and statutes. Here, the water district has the authority to issue the certificates of participation for the purchase since the obligation serves the public purpose of conserving and protecting water and water-related resources and the authorization of the obligation complies with the requirements of law. However, the certificates of participation may not be issued to purchase an option to buy certain property in the future since this option does not serve a public purpose. And to the extent that the substitution of other lands may implicate a pledge of the water district's ad valorem taxing power, such lands may not be substituted.