Except for community development districts established under Chapter 190, Florida Statutes, and water management districts created and operating under Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, this section describes how to dissolve dependent and independent special districts. Questions concerning the dissolution of community development districts and water management districts should be directed to the district's legal counsel.

Related Topic: Disposition of Public Records Upon Dissolution or Merger.

Filing Requirements

File a copy of the dissolution document with the Special District Accountability Program within 30 days of the dissolution's effective date. Electronic submission is preferred (see Additional Information - Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Special District Accountability Program Contact).

Dissolving Dependent Special Districts

A county or municipality may dissolve by ordinance a dependent special district created by that county or municipality. A county may not dissolve a special district that is dependent to a municipality or vice versa and a county or municipality may not dissolve a dependent district created by special act.

Unless otherwise provided by general law, the Florida Legislature may dissolve a dependent special district created and operating pursuant to a special act.

A referendum is not required to dissolve a dependent special district created by special act if that special district meets any criteria for being declared inactive (see Declaring Special Districts Inactive).

Dissolving Independent Special Districts Created and Operating Pursuant to a Special Act

The special district's governing body, by a majority vote plus one, may voluntarily elect to dissolve the special district and request legislative dissolution, unless otherwise provided by general law. The special act dissolving the special district must:

  • Be approved by a majority of the resident electors of the special district, or
  • Be approved by a majority of the landowners voting in the same manner by which the special district's governing body is elected (for special districts in which a majority of governing body members are elected by landowners).

If a local general-purpose government passes an ordinance or resolution in support of the dissolution, the local general-purpose government must pay any expenses associated with the required referendum.

Dissolving Independent Special Districts Created by a County or Municipality by Referendum or any other Procedure

The county or municipality that created the special district may dissolve the special district pursuant to a referendum or any other procedure by which the independent special district was created. However, if the independent special district has ad valorem taxation powers, the same procedure required to grant the independent special district ad valorem taxation powers is required to dissolve the special district.

Dissolving Independent Special Districts that are Inactive

If an independent special district meets any criteria for being declared inactive, it may be dissolved by special act without a referendum (see Declaring Special Districts Inactive).

If an inactive independent special district was created by a county or municipality through a referendum and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has not already declared the special district inactive, the county or municipality that created the special district may dissolve the district after publishing a "Notice of Proposed Declaration of Inactive Status" in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or municipality in which the territory of the special district is located and sending a copy of such notice by certified mail to the registered agent or chair of the governing body, if any. The notice must include the following:

  1. The name of the special district.
  2. The law under which it was organized and operating.
  3. A general description of the territory included in the special district.
  4. A statement that any objections must be filed pursuant to Chapter 120, Florida Statutes - Administrative Procedures Act within 21 days after the publication date.

After 21 days have elapsed from the publication date of the Notice of Proposed Declaration of Inactive Status and no administrative appeals were filed, the county or municipality may dissolve the special district.

Debts and Assets of a Dissolved Special District

Unless otherwise provided by law or ordinance, (excluding Community Development Districts and Water Management Districts), the indebtedness and title to all property owned by a dissolving special district is transferred to the local general-purpose government.

Contact Someone Who Can Answer Questions About Dissolving Special Districts

Additional Information - Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Special District Accountability Program Contact

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