Today, March 8, 2018, the Florida Legislature approved House Bill 395, which would create a municipality in Martin County to be known as the Town of Hobe Sound. If signed into law by Governor Scott, the bill would take effect only upon approval by a majority vote of the municipality’s electors.
“This legislation includes the opportunity for the citizens of Hobe Sound to vote on whether or not they would like for their town to become incorporated,” said Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart), a native of Hobe Sound. “The people of this community have waited years for this legislation, and I am pleased to see it earn the favorable support of both the House and Senate, and move to the Governor’s desk for his consideration.”
The bill contains the charter of the proposed town, including the following authority, powers, and duties:
- Corporate name, purpose of the charter, and creation and establishment of the Town of Hobe Sound;
- Powers of the town;
- A council-manager form of government;
- Town council, mayor, and vice mayor;
- Powers and duties, composition of the council, eligibility, terms, compensation, council meetings, vacancies, forfeitures, judge of qualifications, and investigations;
- Administration by town manager and provision for town attorney, departments, personnel, planning;
- Adoption and enforcement of ordinances and resolutions;
- Financial management, including budget administration and amendment, capital program, public records, annual audits, and shortfalls;
- Authority to raise revenue for municipal purposes, including imposing ad valorem taxes;
- Authority to incur debt, including a bridge loan for initial expenses of the new town;
- Nominations and qualifications of council members, nonpartisan elections, and five at large council seats;
- Powers of initiative and referendum;
- Amendments to the charter and severability; and
- Transition provisions, including a referendum election, initial council election, eligibility for state-shared revenues, local revenue sources, local option gas tax revenues, contractual services and facilities (including existing solid waste contracts), and the continuation of existing county municipal services taxing service units.
The Economic Impact Statement (EIS) submitted for the town projects revenues of $1,687,710 in FY 2019 and $6,391,427 in FY 2020 (first full year of municipal government).
The EIS projects expenditures of $1,038,455 in FY 2019 and $4,558,775 in FY 2020, representing the cost of municipal administration and bridge loan payments.
The expenditure figure does not include payment from the proposed municipality to Martin County for services provided by interlocal agreement.
The bill takes effect upon approval by a majority vote of the proposed municipality’s electors voting in a referendum conducted in accordance with subsection (1) of section 11 of the bill, except that subsection (1) of section 11 and section 12 take effect upon becoming law.