CEO 92-42 -- September 3, 1992
APPLICABILITY OF DISCLOSURE LAW TO
COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOARD
To: David R. Mills, Chairman, Sarasota County Economic Development Board (Sarasota)
Members of the Sarasota County Economic Development Board are local officers subject to filing financial disclosure pursuant to Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes, because they come within the definition of "local officer" and because the Board does not constitute an "advisory body" whose members are exempt from the definition of "local officer," having authorized expenditures exceeding $100,000. CEO 87-57 is referenced.
Are members of the Sarasota County Economic Development Board "local officers" subject to the requirement of filing statements of financial interests and other disclosures, pursuant to Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes?
Your question is answered in the affirmative.
By your letter of inquiry, materials accompanying the letter, and telephone conversation between you and our staff, we are advised that you serve as Chairman of the Sarasota County Economic Development Board ("Board") and that you serve as a member of the Board of County Commissioners of Sarasota County ("County Commission"). The Board was created by County Ordinance No. 91-088 to enhance the economic base of the County by attracting and promoting business and economic development through economic development plan(s) developed by the Board and approved by the County Commission. To fund these economic development efforts, County Ordinance No. 91-084 (an occupational license tax measure) was passed. The County's portion of funds generated by the tax ordinance (which will become available in October 1992) are earmarked to be spent by the Board in furtherance of economic development. You estimate that the amount of such Board funds will be approximately $200,000 to $250,000. Board funds would constitute less than one percent of the County's budget. TheBoard's powers, jurisdiction, and authority 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. The Board has no authority to designate what areas of the County are to be used for business or industrial development purposes.
Section 112.3145(2)(b), Florida Statutes, requires that each "local officer" file a statement of financial interests within 30 days of appointment and annually thereafter by July 1. The term "local officer" is defined to include:
Any appointed member of a board; commission; authority, including any expressway authority or transportation authority established by general law; 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.]
"Advisory body" is defined to mean
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.]
But for the amount of money the Board is to administer ($200,000 to $250,000 generated from the license tax), it would appear that under the factual scenario recited herein the Board would constitute an "advisory body" whose members would therefore not be "local officers" required to file financial disclosure under Section 112.3145. See, for example, CEO 87-57 and the opinions cited therein. However, nothing in statutory law is perhaps plainer than a dollar amount or numerical threshold. Thus, because the Board's budget, appropriations, or authorized expenditures are greater than $100,000, we find that the Board is not an "advisory body" and that its members therefore are "local officers" required to file statements of financial interests (CE Form 1) and, in the event reportable representations are made, quarterly client disclosure pursuant to Section 112.3145(4), Florida Statutes (CE Form 2).
You, as a County Commissioner, and any other members of the Board who file full and public disclosure of financial interests (CE Form 6), need not also file CE Form 1 for the same year. See Section 112.3144(1), Florida Statutes.
Accordingly, members of the Sarasota County Economic Development Board are "local officers" required to file financial disclosure pursuant to Section 112.3145, Florida Statutes.