(1) The legislative and governing body of a county shall have the power to carry on county government. To the extent not inconsistent with general or special law, this power includes, but is not restricted to, the power to:
(a) Adopt its own rules of procedure, select its officers, and set the time and place of its official meetings.
(b) Provide for the prosecution and defense of legal causes in behalf of the county or state and retain counsel and set their compensation.
(c) Provide and maintain county buildings.
(d) Provide fire protection, including the enforcement of the Florida Fire Prevention Code, as provided in ss. 633.206 and 633.208, and adopt and enforce local technical amendments to the Florida Fire Prevention Code as provided in those sections and pursuant to s. 633.202.
(e) Provide hospitals, ambulance service, and health and welfare programs.
(f) Provide parks, preserves, playgrounds, recreation areas, libraries, museums, historical commissions, and other recreation and cultural facilities and programs.
(g) Prepare and enforce comprehensive plans for the development of the county.
(h) Establish, coordinate, and enforce zoning and such business regulations as are necessary for the protection of the public.
(i) Adopt, by reference or in full, and enforce housing and related technical codes and regulations.
(j) Establish and administer programs of housing, slum clearance, community redevelopment, conservation, flood and beach erosion control, air pollution control, and navigation and drainage and cooperate with governmental agencies and private enterprises in the development and operation of such programs.
(k)1. Provide and regulate waste and sewage collection and disposal, water and alternative water supplies, including, but not limited to, reclaimed water and water from aquifer storage and recovery and desalination systems, and conservation programs.
2. The governing body of a county may require that any person within the county demonstrate the existence of some arrangement or contract by which such person will dispose of solid waste in a manner consistent with county ordinance or state or federal law. For any person who will produce special wastes or biomedical waste, as the same may be defined by state or federal law or county ordinance, the county may require satisfactory proof of a contract or similar arrangement by which such special or biomedical wastes will be collected by a qualified and duly licensed collector and disposed of in accordance with the laws of Florida or the Federal Government.
(l) Provide and operate air, water, rail, and bus terminals; port facilities; and public transportation systems.
(m) Provide and regulate arterial, toll, and other roads, bridges, tunnels, and related facilities; eliminate grade crossings; regulate the placement of signs, lights, and other structures within the right-of-way limits of the county road system; provide and regulate parking facilities; and develop and enforce plans for the control of traffic and parking. Revenues derived from the operation of toll roads, bridges, tunnels, and related facilities may, after provision has been made for the payment of operation and maintenance expenses of such toll facilities and any debt service on indebtedness incurred with respect thereto, be utilized for the payment of costs related to any other transportation facilities within the county, including the purchase of rights-of-way; the construction, reconstruction, operation, maintenance, and repair of such transportation facilities; and the payment of indebtedness incurred with respect to such transportation facilities.
(n) License and regulate taxis, jitneys, limousines for hire, rental cars, and other passenger vehicles for hire that operate in the unincorporated areas of the county; except that any constitutional charter county as defined in s. 125.011(1) shall on July 1, 1988, have been authorized to have issued a number of permits to operate taxis which is no less than the ratio of one permit for each 1,000 residents of said county, and any such new permits issued after June 4, 1988, shall be issued by lottery among individuals with such experience as a taxi driver as the county may determine.
(o) Establish and enforce regulations for the sale of alcoholic beverages in the unincorporated areas of the county pursuant to general law.
(p) Enter into agreements with other governmental agencies within or outside the boundaries of the county for joint performance, or performance by one unit in behalf of the other, of any of either agency’s authorized functions.
(q) Establish, and subsequently merge or abolish those created hereunder, municipal service taxing or benefit units for any part or all of the unincorporated area of the county, within which may be provided fire protection; law enforcement; beach erosion control; recreation service and facilities; water; alternative water supplies, including, but not limited to, reclaimed water and water from aquifer storage and recovery and desalination systems; streets; sidewalks; street lighting; garbage and trash collection and disposal; waste and sewage collection and disposal; drainage; transportation; indigent health care services; mental health care services; and other essential facilities and municipal services from funds derived from service charges, special assessments, or taxes within such unit only. Subject to the consent by ordinance of the governing body of the affected municipality given either annually or for a term of years, the boundaries of a municipal service taxing or benefit unit may include all or part of the boundaries of a municipality. If ad valorem taxes are levied to provide essential facilities and municipal services within the unit, the millage levied on any parcel of property for municipal purposes by all municipal service taxing units and the municipality may not exceed 10 mills. This paragraph authorizes all counties to levy additional taxes, within the limits fixed for municipal purposes, within such municipal service taxing units under the authority of the second sentence of s. 9(b), Art. VII of the State Constitution.
1(r) Levy and collect taxes, both for county purposes and for the providing of municipal services within any municipal service taxing unit, and special assessments; borrow and expend money; and issue bonds, revenue certificates, and other obligations of indebtedness, which power shall be exercised in such manner, and subject to such limitations, as may be provided by general law. There shall be no referendum required for the levy by a county of ad valorem taxes, both for county purposes and for the providing of municipal services within any municipal service taxing unit.
(s) Make investigations of county affairs; inquire into accounts, records, and transactions of any county department, office, or officer; and, for these purposes, require reports from any county officer or employee and the production of official records.
(t) Adopt ordinances and resolutions necessary for the exercise of its powers and prescribe fines and penalties for the violation of ordinances in accordance with law.
(u) Create civil service systems and boards.
(v) Require every county official to submit to it annually, at such time as it may specify, a copy of the official’s operating budget for the succeeding fiscal year.
(w) Perform any other acts not inconsistent with law, which acts are in the common interest of the people of the county, and exercise all powers and privileges not specifically prohibited by law.
(x) Employ an independent certified public accounting firm to audit any funds, accounts, and financial records of the county and its agencies and governmental subdivisions. Entities that are funded wholly or in part by the county, at the discretion of the county, may be required by the county to conduct a performance audit paid for by the county. An entity shall not be considered as funded by the county by virtue of the fact that such entity utilizes the county to collect taxes, assessments, fees, or other revenue. If an independent special district receives county funds pursuant to a contract or interlocal agreement for the purposes of funding, in whole or in part, a discrete program of the district, only that program may be required by the county to undergo a performance audit. Not fewer than five copies of each complete audit report, with accompanying documents, shall be filed with the clerk of the circuit court and maintained there for public inspection. The clerk shall thereupon forward one complete copy of the audit report with accompanying documents to the Auditor General.
(y) Place questions or propositions on the ballot at any primary election, general election, or otherwise called special election, when agreed to by a majority vote of the total membership of the legislative and governing body, so as to obtain an expression of elector sentiment with respect to matters of substantial concern within the county. No special election may be called for the purpose of conducting a straw ballot. Any election costs, as defined in s. 97.021, associated with any ballot question or election called specifically at the request of a district or for the creation of a district shall be paid by the district either in whole or in part as the case may warrant.
(z) Approve or disapprove the issuance of industrial development bonds authorized by law for entities within its geographic jurisdiction.
(aa) Use ad valorem tax revenues to purchase any or all interests in land for the protection of natural floodplains, marshes, or estuaries; for use as wilderness or wildlife management areas; for restoration of altered ecosystems; or for preservation of significant archaeological or historic sites.
(bb) Enforce the Florida Building Code, as provided in s. 553.80, and adopt and enforce local technical amendments to the Florida Building Code, pursuant to s. 553.73(4)(b) and (c).
(cc) Prohibit a business entity, other than a county tourism promotion agency, from using names as specified in s. 125.0104(9)(e) when representing itself to the public as an entity representing tourism interests of the county levying the local option tourist development tax under s. 125.0104.
(2) The board of county commissioners shall be the governing body of any municipal service taxing or benefit unit created pursuant to paragraph (1)(q).
(3)(a) The enumeration of powers herein may not be deemed exclusive or restrictive, but is deemed to incorporate all implied powers necessary or incident to carrying out such powers enumerated, including, specifically, authority to employ personnel, expend funds, enter into contractual obligations, and purchase or lease and sell or exchange real or personal property. The authority to employ personnel includes, but is not limited to, the authority to determine benefits available to different types of personnel. Such benefits may include, but are not limited to, insurance coverage and paid leave. The provisions of chapter 121 govern the participation of county employees in the Florida Retirement System.
(b) The provisions of this section shall be liberally construed in order to effectively carry out the purpose of this section and to secure for the counties the broad exercise of home rule powers authorized by the State Constitution.
(4) The legislative and governing body of a county shall not have the power to regulate the taking or possession of saltwater fish, as defined in s. 379.101, with respect to the method of taking, size, number, season, or species. However, this subsection does not prohibit a county from prohibiting, for reasons of protecting the public health, safety, or welfare, saltwater fishing from real property owned by that county, nor does it prohibit the imposition of excise taxes by county ordinance.
(5)(a) To an extent not inconsistent with general or special law, the governing body of a county shall have the power to establish, and subsequently merge or abolish those created hereunder, special districts to include both incorporated and unincorporated areas subject to the approval of the governing body of the incorporated area affected, within which may be provided municipal services and facilities from funds derived from service charges, special assessments, or taxes within such district only. Such ordinance may be subsequently amended by the same procedure as the original enactment.
(b) The governing body of such special district shall be composed of county commissioners and may include elected officials of the governing body of an incorporated area included in the boundaries of the special district, with the basis of apportionment being set forth in the ordinance creating the special district.
(c) It is declared to be the intent of the Legislature that this subsection is the authorization for the levy by a special district of any millage designated in the ordinance creating such a special district or amendment thereto and approved by vote of the electors under the authority of the first sentence of s. 9(b), Art. VII of the State Constitution. It is the further intent of the Legislature that a special district created under this subsection include both unincorporated and incorporated areas of a county and that such special district may not be used to provide services in the unincorporated area only.
(6)(a) The governing body of a municipality or municipalities by resolution, or the citizens of a municipality or county by petition of 10 percent of the qualified electors of such unit, may identify a service or program rendered specially for the benefit of the property or residents in unincorporated areas and financed from countywide revenues and petition the board of county commissioners to develop an appropriate mechanism to finance such activity for the ensuing fiscal year, which may be by taxes, special assessments, or service charges levied or imposed solely upon residents or property in the unincorporated area, by the establishment of a municipal service taxing or benefit unit pursuant to paragraph (1)(q), or by remitting the identified cost of service paid from revenues required to be expended on a countywide basis to the municipality or municipalities, within 6 months of the adoption of the county budget, in the proportion that the amount of county ad valorem taxes collected within such municipality or municipalities bears to the total amount of countywide ad valorem taxes collected by the county, or by any other method prescribed by state law.
(b) The board of county commissioners shall, within 90 days, file a response to such petition, which response shall either reflect action to develop appropriate mechanisms or shall reject such petition and state findings of fact demonstrating that the service does not specially benefit the property or residents of the unincorporated areas.
(7) No county revenues, except those derived specifically from or on behalf of a municipal service taxing unit, special district, unincorporated area, service area, or program area, shall be used to fund any service or project provided by the county when no real and substantial benefit accrues to the property or residents within a municipality or municipalities.
History.—s. 1, ch. 1882, 1872; s. 1, ch. 3039, 1877; RS 578; GS 769; s. 1, ch. 6842, 1915; RGS 1475; CGL 2153; s. 1, ch. 59-436; s. 1, ch. 69-265; ss. 1, 2, 6, ch. 71-14; s. 2, ch. 73-208; s. 1, ch. 73-272; s. 1, ch. 74-150; ss. 1, 2, 4, ch. 74-191; s. 1, ch. 75-63; s. 1, ch. 77-33; s. 1, ch. 79-87; s. 1, ch. 80-407; s. 1, ch. 83-1; s. 17, ch. 83-271; s. 12, ch. 84-330; s. 2, ch. 87-92; s. 1, ch. 87-263; s. 9, ch. 87-363; s. 2, ch. 88-163; s. 18, ch. 88-286; s. 2, ch. 89-273; s. 1, ch. 90-175; s. 1, ch. 90-332; s. 1, ch. 91-238; s. 1, ch. 92-90; s. 1, ch. 93-207; s. 41, ch. 94-224; s. 31, ch. 94-237; s. 1, ch. 94-332; s. 1433, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 95-323; s. 41, ch. 96-397; s. 42, ch. 97-13; s. 2, ch. 2000-141; s. 34, ch. 2001-186; s. 36, ch. 2001-266; s. 3, ch. 2001-372; s. 20, ch. 2002-281; s. 1, ch. 2003-78; ss. 27, 28, ch. 2003-415; s. 184, ch. 2008-247; s. 2, ch. 2011-143; s. 122, ch. 2013-183; s. 1, ch. 2014-7; s. 1, ch. 2016-89.
1Note.—Section 1, ch. 2016-89, amended paragraph (1)(r), effective November 1, 2017, to read:
(r) Levy and collect taxes, both for county purposes and for the providing of municipal services within any municipal service taxing unit, and special assessments; borrow and expend money; and issue bonds, revenue certificates, and other obligations of indebtedness, which power shall be exercised in such manner, and subject to such limitations, as may be provided by general law. There shall be no referendum required for the levy by a county of ad valorem taxes, both for county purposes and for the providing of municipal services within any municipal service taxing unit. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a county may not levy special assessments for the provision of fire protection services on lands classified as agricultural lands under s. 193.461 unless the land contains a residential dwelling or nonresidential farm building, with the exception of an agricultural pole barn, provided the nonresidential farm building exceeds a just value of $10,000. Such special assessments must be based solely on the special benefit accruing to that portion of the land consisting of the residential dwelling and curtilage, and qualifying nonresidential farm buildings. As used in this paragraph, the term “agricultural pole barn” means a nonresidential farm building in which 70 percent or more of the perimeter walls are permanently open and allow free ingress and egress.