Quick Facts

Do you have questions? If so, below are some are some questions concerned citizens frequently ask. If you don't find your answer here then feel free to contact us anytime.

What is “home rule”?

"Home rule" is the notion that the government closest to the people should be relatively free to serve local citizens without excessive interference from state or federal bureaucracies.

Examples of "home rule" being undermined by State or Federal Governments:

  • Florida lawmakers tried to push for a bill telling city commissioners how to conduct meetings, how long speakers should speak and how to even record minutes. Given all the problems with State politics, do we really need Tallahassee lawmakers telling local government how to conduct a meeting?


Why is “home rule” so important?

Local governments all across this country are the proving grounds of great ideas. They are the governments that are closest to the people and who are in the best position to serve the people. As such, local governments are most likely to be responsive to the people they serve.

What is an “unfunded mandate”?

An unfunded mandate is when state government requires local governments like cities or counties to do something but doesn't pay for it.

Examples of some unfunded mandates:

  • The State thinks pensions and benefits for city workers are too low and requires local Cities to increase them, but the state provides no money to help pick up the cost.
  • The State thinks judges should have more assistants to help move their caseload but provides counties no new dollars to hire them.
  • The State thinks Cities should increase transportation options but sends no money to pay for those new options.


While each of these may be fabulous ideas, State lawmakers too often are simply passing the buck and requiring local taxpayers to pay for their good ideas.

Why are unfunded mandates wrong?
  1. When state lawmakers can force local governments to do things, they take all the credit, but then pass the buck when it comes time to pay for those services.
  2. Unfunded mandates force your City or County government to raise your taxes or curt other services to pay for something the State thinks is important. If the State thinks it's so important, shouldn't they find the money to pay for it?
  3. It blurs the line of responsibility. State government should take care of State services and let local governments handle local services.
How much do unfunded mandates cost local taxpayers?

One recent study estimated the cost to be in the billions of dollars. The cost shifting alone for education is estimated to be over $1.5 billion dollars. These are taxes that should be paid at the State level. Instead, these bills get added to your local property taxes or local option sales taxes.

What can I do to stop unfunded mandates?

Have your voice heard. Sign up here to learn more about unfunded mandates. When calls or emails are needed, we will let you know. We're keeping an eye out for you all you need tot do is lets your legislature know you are watching.

Should there be a law?

There is! In fact, in 1990 Florida voters amended our state constitution requiring State lawmakers to take extraordinary steps to pass on an unfunded mandate. All that change did was slow down the process a little bit. It seems that State lawmakers found ways around the new requirements - that is why your voice is so important.

Does Tallahassee really know what’s best for your local city?

Do federal lawmakers in Washington D.C. really know what kind of fire service you need or what kind of police force you want? That's what home rule is all about...it's sort of a "separation of powers" for the little guy. Let the Feds take care of federal business, let the State take care of State business, and give us the freedom to serve ourselves on local matters.

What is "Truth in Millage"?

The "Truth in Millage” act, also known as TRIM is a revision to Florida's property tax plan put in place in 1980. The revision requires cities and counties to "roll back" their property tax levies to a rate that raises the same amount of dollars as the previous year. The calculation is adjusted for new construction and annexation. If a city or county does not enact a rolled-back rate, the government must advertise a tax increase.

Our Cities in Action

Dec-29-2013 The Ledger
Lakeland will complete the year with a goal it announced almost 30 years ago: a population of more than 100,000.
Nov-20-2013 Reuters
Only third city in the nation to receive Palladium honor. The City of Tamarac, Florida has joined the ranks of such prestigious organizations as Motorola, UPS and Hilton Hotels as a recipient of the...
Sep-16-2013 Tampa Bay Times
Shelby Willis is 5 feet 4 inches tall. But that didn't stop her from climbing up the ranks to become Largo's first female fire chief and the only female fire chief in Pinellas County.
Sep-03-2013 Daily Commercial
Eustis city commissioners will meet Thursday night to consider creating a Downtown Waterfront Entertainment District to better promote the city and help local businesses.
Aug-02-2013 Daytona Beach News-Journal
DAYTONA BEACH — As the city comes alive with a massive redevelopment at Daytona International Speedway and the promise of two new oceanfront hotels, the 85-year-old Boardwalk is basking in a rebirth...
May-07-2013 South Florida Business Journal
Fort Lauderdale has been ranked No. 7 for economic potential on a list of the Top 10 Small American Cities of the Future, according to fDi Magazine.
Apr-11-2013 South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Tours in South Florida typically go to the beach but, in Coral Springs, city leaders will pile onto a bus to see government buildings in three counties. City commissioners haven't decided yet to...
Apr-05-2013 Tampa Bay Times
Family, friends and residents will gather at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for the official renaming of “John R. Lawrence Pioneer Park.”
Apr-03-2013 Longboat Observer
A town Fire Rescue Department software application is in a Computerworld Honors Program Safety & Security category with the likes of Hewlett-Packard and the FBI.
Mar-27-2013 Belleair Bee
BELLEAIR - The town of Belleair is encouraging veterans and active military personnel to be on hand at the April 2 commission meeting when the town proclaims April 17 as Military Family and Community...