An Independent Special District (ISD) is a governmental unit created to serve the long-term specific needs of its community. Created pursuant to chapter 190 of the Florida Statutes, an ISD’s main powers are to plan, finance, construct, operate and maintain community-wide infrastructure and services specifically for the benefit of its residents.
What will the ISD Do?
Through an ISD, the community can offer its residents a broad range of community-related services and infrastructure to help ensure the highest quality of life possible. ISD responsibilities within our community may include storm water management, potable and irrigation water supply, sewer and wastewater management.
How ISDs Operate
An ISD is governed by its Board of Supervisors which is elected by the duly qualified electorate of the District. Like all municipal, county, state, and national elections, the Office of the Supervisor of Elections oversees the vote, and District’s Supervisors are subject to state ethics and financial disclosure laws. The District’s business is conducted in the “Sunshine,” which means all monthly and special meetings and records are open to the public. Annual public hearings are held on the District’s yearly budget and assessments and the District’s budget is subject to annual independent audit.
Relationship with Homeowner’s Associations
The District does not serve as Lake Padgett Estates Civic Association (“Association”) and is completely separate and apart from the Association. While the District and the Association share a common goal in maintaining quality standards within the community, the District’s authority is limited solely to the recreational facilities within the District.
Benefits to Residents
Residents within the District may expect to receive many recreational benefits, including access to six separate park facilities, which also provide access to playground equipment, picnic pavilions, tennis facilities and three separate large lakes suitable for boating and fishing. Recreational trails and horse stables within the District also provide opportunities for equestrian ownership and activities.
The District provides landowners within the District with consistently high levels of recreational facilities and services managed through self-imposed fees and assessments.
District landowners and electors choose the District’s Board of Supervisors, which is able to determine the type, quality and expense of District facilities and services.
The District is subject to the same laws and regulations that apply to other government entities. Many contracts for goods and services, such as annually negotiated maintenance contracts, are subject to publicly advertised competitive bidding practices.
Residents and property owners within the District set the standards of quality, which are then managed by the District. The District provides perpetual maintenance of the environmental conservation areas as they relate to recreational interests within the District. This consistent and quality-controlled method of management helps protect the long term property values within the community and District.
The Cost of an ISD
The cost to operate an ISD is borne by those who benefit from its services. Property owners within the District are subject to a non-ad valorem special assessment, which appears on their annual property tax bill from the county tax collector and consists of an annual special assessment for operations and maintenance, which can fluctuate from year to year based on the budget adopted for that fiscal year by its Board of Supervisors. Because costs and services vary depending upon the individual ISD, specific fee information is available for each community.
The ISD makes it possible for our community to offer the most desirable elements of a master-planned community. Residents enjoy high quality infrastructure facilities and services with the comfort and assurance of knowing that the standards of the community will be maintained long after the developer is gone. With an ISD in place, residents are assured of the ability to control quality and value for years to come.
Independent Special District FAQs
Q: What is the Independent Special District in our community specifically responsible for?
The District will provide management for the following publicly-owned elements:
- Community Parks
- Recreational Trails
- Portions of the lakes within the District
Q: Who governs the ISD?
The ISD is governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors elected every two (2) years by majority vote of the resident electors within the District. A professional manage company hired by the Board of Supervisors implements the policies of the Board.
Q: How are ISD services financed?
The ISD issues Special Assessment Revenue Bonds to finance community infrastructure. Generally, Community Development Districts assess each property owner a yearly capital debt service assessment to pay back those bonds. In the case of the ISD a significant portion of this capital assessment will be prepaid by the developer at the time of closing. In addition, to maintain the facilities of the community and administer the ISD, the ISD conducts a public hearing each year at which it adopts an operating and maintenance budget. The funding of this budget is levied as an operating and maintenance assessment on your property by the Board of Supervisors. All residents pay for a share of the maintenance of the ISD improvements through this annual assessment.
Q: How are annual assessments determined?
The annual operating and maintenance assessment amount will be set annually by the Board of Supervisors. The factors that determine an adjustment in the assessment consist of inflation and changes to the levels of service.
Q: What are the ongoing responsibilities of the ISD?
The ongoing responsibilities of the ISD are to maintain, operate and improve the community recreational amenities and associated infrastructure and services within the District for the benefit of the property owners within the District.