CEO 83-22 -- April 21, 1983
APPLICABILITY OF FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE LAW TO MEMBERS OF PALM BEACH COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
The members of the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council are not "local officers" and therefore are not subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually under Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes. The powers of the Council under Section 125.0104(4)(e), Florida Statutes, and under the county ordinance creating the Council, are solely advisory. Nor does the Council have the authority to spend public funds.
Are the members of the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing a statement of financial interests annually?
Your question is answered in the negative.
The statutory financial disclosure law requires each "local officer" to file a statement of financial interests annually. Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes. The term "local officer" is defined to include:
Any appointed member of a board, commission, authority, community college district board of trustees, or council of any political subdivision of the state, excluding any member of an advisory body. A governmental body with land-planning, zoning, or natural resources responsibilities shall not be considered an advisory body. [Section 112.3145(1)(a)2, Florida Statutes (1981).]
For purposes of this law, the term "advisory body" is defined as follows:
'advisory body' means any board, commission, committee, council, or authority, however selected, whose total budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures constitute less than 1 percent of the budget of each agency it serves or $100,000, whichever is less, and whose powers, jurisdiction, and authority are solely advisory and do not include the final determination or adjudication of any personal or property rights, duties, or obligations, other than those relating to its internal operations. [Section 112.312(1), Florida Statutes (1981).]
We are of the opinion that the powers, jurisdiction, and authority of the Tourist Development Council are solely advisory and do not include the final determination or adjudication of any personal or property rights, duties, or obligations, other than those relating to its internal operations. Section 125.0104(4)(e), Florida Statutes, requires the governing board of each county which levies and imposes a tourist development tax to appoint an advisory council. The council is to make recommendations to the county governing board for the effective operation of special projects and for uses of tourist development tax revenue, and is to perform such other duties as may be prescribed by county ordinance or resolution. As the authority of the Council under this statutory provision is solely advisory, we also must examine the Council's responsibilities under the ordinance which created it.
You advise that the Council was created by County Ordinance No. 82-15. That Ordinance provides that prior to making recommendations to the County Commission, the Council shall review each proposal for expenditure of funds to determine that the expenditure complies with the tourist development plan of the Ordinance. In addition, the Ordinance provides that the Council is to review all expenditures of revenue from the tourism development trust fund; expenditures which the Council believes to be unauthorized are to be reported to the County Commission and the Florida Department of Revenue. Upon receiving such notification, the County Commission is to review the Council's findings and take such administrative or judicial action as it sees fit under applicable law. We find these responsibilities also to be advisory.
Finally, we must determine whether the total budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures of the Council "constitute less than 1 percent of the budget of each agency it serves or $100,000, whichever is less. . . . " You advise that the Council has the authority to recommend the expenditure of public funds, but does not have budget-making authority or the authority to expend, commit, or obligate the expenditure of such funds. You also advise that the Council has no authority to hire an administrator for the tourist development plan or to expend funds for that purpose, although it will have the opportunity to make recommendations to the County Commission on these matters. Any contracts involving expenditure of tourist development tax revenue will be entered into by the County, as the County Commission is the entity possessing the power to expend County funds. Funds have not been, and are not anticipated to be, appropriated to the Council for expenditure by the Council. Under these circumstances, we find that the Council does not have any budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures.
Accordingly, we find that the members of the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council are not "local officers" and therefore are not required to file statements of financial interests annually.