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Fla. Const. art. VIII, § 2 expressly grants to every municipality authority to conduct municipal government, perform municipal functions, and render municipal services. The only limitation on that power is that it must be exercised for a valid municipal purpose. It follows that municipalities are not dependent upon the legislature for further authorization. Legislative statutes are relevant only to determine limitations of authority.
In an effort to revitalize its downtown area, the City of Boca Raton determined to construct a wide range of specifically enumerated improvements in the infrastructure. The City determined to obtain a portion of the money to pay the cost from the issuance of bonds in an amount not to exceed $ 21,000,000. The bonds were to be repaid from special assessments levied over a period of years against the downtown property to be benefitted by the improvements. The City's effort to validate the bonds was opposed by the appellee, the State of Florida, pursuant to chapter 75, Florida Statutes (1989), as well as by several property owners. The trial judge determined that the City did not have legislative authority to impose the assessments and the City sought review.
The court reversed and remanded with directions that the bond issue be approved. The court concluded that the special assessments proposed by the City did not constitute a tax that was prohibited by Fla. Const. art. VIII, § 1(a), because the properties assessed derived a special benefit from the planned improvements, and the assessments were fairly apportioned among the properties that received the benefit, based on their assessed values pursuant to permissible appraisal methods. Additionally, the court ruled that the City had authority to impose special assessments under its home rule power.