Questions about ISDs
A 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, a 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 a 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, and street lights.
How ISDs Operate
A ISD is governed by its Board of Supervisors which is elected initially by the landowners, then begins transitioning to residents of the ISD after six years of operation. Like all municipal, county, state, and national elections, the Office of the Supervisor of Elections oversees the vote, and ISD Supervisors are subject to state ethics and financial disclosure laws. The ISD’s business is conducted in the “Sunshine,” which means all meetings and records are open to the public. Public hearings are held on ISD assessments. and the ISD’s budget is subject to annual independent audit.
Relationship with Homeowner's Associations
The ISD complements the responsibilities of community homeowner's associations (HOAs). Many of the maintenance functions handled by these associations in other communities may be handled by the ISD. However, the associations have other responsibilities such as operating amenities and ensuring that deed restrictions and other quality standards are enforced.
Benefits to Residents
Residents within a community with a ISD may expect to receive three major classes of benefits. First, the ISD provides landowners consistently high levels of public facilities and services managed and financed through self-imposed fees and assessments. Second, the ISD ensures that these community development facilities and services will be completed concurrently with other parts of the development. Third, ISD landowners and electors choose the Board of Supervisors, which is able to determine the type, quality and expense of ISD facilities and services.
Other savings are realized because a ISD is subject to the same laws and regulations that apply to other government entities. The ISD is able to borrow money to finance its facilities at lower, tax-exempt, interest rates, the same as cities and counties. Many contracts for goods and services, such as annually negotiated maintenance contracts, are subject to publicly advertised competitive bidding.
Residents and property owners in a ISD set the standards of quality, which are then managed by the ISD. The ISD provides perpetual maintenance of the environmental conservation areas. This consistent and quality-controlled method of management helps protect the long term property values in a community.
The Cost of an ISD
The cost to operate a ISD is borne by those who benefit from its services. Property owners in the ISD are subject to a non-ad valorem assessment, which appears on their annual property tax bill from the county tax collector and has an annual assessment for operations and maintenance, which can fluctuate up and down from year to year based on the budget adopted for that fiscal year.
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 well into the future. With a ISD in place, residents are assured of the ability to control quality and value for years to come.
Q. What is the ISD in our community specifically responsible for?
The ISD will provide the following publicly-owned elements:
- Water management. Including main line irrigation, lake and water control structures
- Conservation areas
- Water and sewer facilities, which will be transferred to the appropriate franchised utility
- Landscaping and entry features
- Amenity areas
Q. Who governs the ISD?
The ISD is governed by a five-member Board of Supervisors elected initially by the property owners. Eventually, the Board will he elected by majority vote of the resident electors in the community. A professional manager 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 operate and maintain the community facilities for the benefit of the property owners.
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