“Seminole Forever” program to save water resources

Seminole County commissioners are working on an ordinance this month to acquire land critical to conservation efforts, like water protection, because most drinking water comes from underground aquifers that naturally filter and hold groundwater.

What do you want to know

  • In Effort to Safeguard County’s Natural Resources, Seminole Commissioners Consider “Forever Seminole” Conservation Plan
  • The plan is modeled on the “Florida Forever” program
  • If passed, the plan would allocate $5 million a year for land acquisition and establish a council to make purchase decisions.

“Every time I speak to a citizen they say, ‘Yes, we understand the growth is going to be here, but please protect our natural resources,'” Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine said. .

Even though residents may agree on the goal, there are different ideas on how to achieve it.

Save Rural Seminole President David Bear has proposed putting a measure on the November ballot to allow residents to vote on a tax to buy natural land and protect it.

“The most common way counties preserve natural lands is the way Seminole County did in 1990 and 2000, which was to hold a referendum of citizens saying: “Yes, it is a value that we hold and we choose to add an additional property tax or sales tax value on ourselves to allow the county to purchase and preserve natural land,” he said. declared.

This proposal, however, was rejected by county commissioners in favor of a plan presented by Constantine called “Seminole Forever” – which is modeled after the state’s Florida Forever conservation program.

“I think it’s so important as a core value of local government, and the state for that matter, that we should build it right into our budget,” Constantine said.

His plan is to invest $5 million a year in the natural land acquisition program and create a council that would make recommendations on which properties the county should purchase for the long-term protection of water supplies.

“As we continue to grow like all counties in Florida, if we don’t seek to protect the land available today, we may not have the chance in the future,” Constantine said.

Bear is optimistic that the board will fund Seminole Forever.

“We just want to make sure the county has funding to acquire natural land, we don’t really care how you do it,” he said. “But if you’re going to do it that way, instead of allowing citizens to vote on it, then we’re going to take that as a promise.”

Constantine said changes to the plan would require a super majority, which means four of the five council members would have to agree to it.

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