The Path to Home Rule
In the state of Florida, the path to home rule authority is specifically laid out by statutes. The entire process can take up to two years and involves a rigorous analysis with input and involvement of the community. At the end, registered voters within the proposed boundaries get to vote on whether or not they want to incorporate as a municipality. Here is how the process works:
Step 1: Local Delegation ✓
Because the entire process goes through the Florida House and Senate, the local delegation must be willing to bring a local bill and all required components to Tallahassee. Local citizens met with Senator Doug Broxson and Representative Alex Andrade in December, 2022, to confirm that the local delegation would bring such a bill to Tallahassee.
Step 2: Feasibility Study ←
The next step is for a third-party feasibility study firm to analyze the proposed area, and produce a report containing several components, including a 5-year projected budget, research, planning and intergovernmental discussions to ensure viability of community prior to incorporation. This study must be submitted to the the state by September 1 for consideration in the following legislative session.
BJM Consulting, Inc., has been retained to complete this study. With more than 30 previous studies produced, including Fort Myers Beach and Indiantown, Florida, they are well-versed in this process. The analysis begins with a rough 5-year projected budget to help our community better understand the financial aspect of incorporation – what current revenue sources would return to the municipality, and any additional revenue sources needed to operate a government lite style municipality. The results of the draft budget are expected to be presented to the Perdido community some time in April, 2023.
Following this, other components for the study will be added. These will stem from community workgroups that draft a proposed municipal charter, and input for a transitional plan.
Step 3: A Local Bill
All required components of the feasibility study must be submitted to the local delegation no later than September 1, 2023, for consideration in the 2024 legislative session. Upon submission, the study goes through multiple subcommittees to be scrutinized for completeness and viability. Once it emerges from this process, the local delegation would officially vote on it as a local bill. This local bill then travels through the House, the Senate, and onto the Governor’s desk.
Step 4: A Local Vote
If the bill passes in Tallahassee, registered voters within the proposed municipal boundaries can vote on becoming a municipality. Assuming the bill passes in the 2024 legislative session, local voters could expect to see it on the November 2024 ballot. If it passes the local vote, the town of Perdido would officially become municipality by January 2025.