Community Development District and Local Government Law
As part of its community development district and local government law practice, the firm represents approximately 100 community development districts that are located throughout Central and Southwest Florida. Community Development Districts or CDDs are local units of special-purpose government which are governed by Chapter 190, Florida Statutes. The main purpose of a CDD is to finance, construct, and operate public infrastructure which may include the stormwater management system, roads, conservation areas, and recreation facilities that all serve the community. These facilities impact the quality of life for all CDD residents so it is important that they are well maintained and operated in accordance with Florida law.
The attorneys with the firm have experience in the areas of law that face CDDs and local governments on a daily basis. Some examples of legal issues that the firm’s attorneys deal with on a daily basis include:
- CDD Procedures and Policies – CDDs are responsible for enacting the rules and policies governing the use of its facilities. The attorneys with the firm have experience drafting and enforcing rules and policies for CDD recreation facilities and common areas.
- Bond Financing and Refundings – As local governments, CDDs usually issue tax exempt municipal bonds in order to pay for the construction of the public facilities within the community. The attorneys with the firm have extensive experience reviewing and interpreting the complex trust indentures governing CDD bonds and have worked with CDD managers, engineers, and investment bankers during the issuance and refunding of millions of dollars of CDD bonds. Many communities have realized substantial cost savings through the refunding of existing CDD bonds.
- Election Laws – The firm has experience advising CDD supervisors regarding Florida’s elections laws. In many cases, the lawyers with the firm have worked with staff from the supervisor of election’s office to resolve CDD election issues.
- Ethics, Sunshine, and Public Records Laws – As public officials, CDD supervisors must follow numerous ethics laws, Sunshine laws, and public records laws. These laws are complex and the failure of a CDD supervisor to abide by these laws could result in civil or criminal penalties. The attorneys in the firm have the experience necessary to guide the CDD supervisors through these complicated areas of the law.
- Competitive Bidding and Bid Protests – CDDs are required to select vendors using statutory public procurement procedures. It is important that CDDs are properly assisted through the competitive bidding process or it could be subject to a bid protest. In the cases where a vendor files a bid protest, the firm has extensive experience representing CDDs in bid protest hearings.
- Government Contract Drafting, Negotiation, and Enforcement – In order to operate, CDDs must contract with numerous parties such as CDD managers, engineers, auditors, architects, construction contractors, landscape maintenance contractors, and environmental consultants. There are numerous provisions of Florida law that specifically address public contracts. The attorneys with the firm have extensive experience negotiating, drafting and enforcing government contracts.
- CDD Budget and Special Assessment Collections – As the sole source of funding for the CDDs operations, the CDD must approve its budget and collect its special assessments in a timely manner each year. The attorneys with the firm work closely with the CDD managers to ensure that the CDD budget is approved, and, when necessary, the tax collector to ensure that the CDD receives its special assessment payments on time in order to avoid any disruption in services for the CDD’s residents.
- Special Assessment Foreclosure Litigation – In cases in which the CDD directly collects its special assessments, the attorneys with the firm have handled numerous foreclosure actions in order to recover the delinquent special assessments. The attorneys with the firm have worked with CDD supervisors, managers, bondholders, investment bankers, developers, and residents in reviewing the bond trust indentures and advising the CDDs with regards to the appropriate steps necessary to prevent or resolve a default on a CDD’s bonds.
- CDD Boundaries – CDD boundaries are established and amended through local ordinances or state administrative rules. The firm’s attorneys have experience in the establishment, contraction, expansion and merger of CDD boundaries and have appeared before numerous city councils, county commissions and the State of Florida.