What is the Acme Improvement District?
The Acme Improvement District is a dependent special district originally created by the Florida legislature in 1953 to provide drainage, water management, and infrastructure development in western Palm Beach County. Acme’s service area covers over 32 square miles and includes parts of unincorporated Palm Beach County.
Special Districts are unlike municipalities and counties in that some of them, including Acme, collect revenue from non-Ad Valorem assessments. This means that the amount of the assessment is not based on the value of the property. Assessments are paid solely by landowners benefiting from the services that Acme provides.
The assessments collected do not duplicate services provided by other municipalities or districts and revenues can only be used for purposes authorized in our legislation.
Some of the services that Acme provides are:
- Water and Wastewater - provides water and wastewater utility services.
- Roadway Improvements - construction and maintenance of roadways and infrastructure.
- Surface Water Management – construction and maintenance of drainage facilities and infrastructure, including pump stations, canals, water bodies, swales, and storm water conveyance system. Compliance with water quality requirements mandated by various State and Federal agencies. Operating expenses include engineering, legal, and audit services, canal mowing and aquatic vegetation control, regulatory costs, materials, supplies and equipment for maintaining infrastructure.
- Equestrian Trails - maintenance and construction of all public equestrian trails, fencing and trail heads.
- Preserve Maintenance – Responsible for overseeing and maintaining the Wellington Environmental Preserve at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Habitat, the Birkdale Preserve, and Big Blue Preserve.
Eventually Acme became the local government for the area until the Village of Wellington (Wellington) was incorporated in 1995. With the incorporation Acme became a dependent district of Wellington and the two entities share the same governing board with the Wellington Council acting as the Board of Supervisors for Acme.
Acme’s responsibilities currently include the construction, operation, and maintenance of administration and maintenance facilities, surface water management system facilities, park and recreation facilities, roads, and water and wastewater facilities. Wellington officials and staff perform the administration of these functions, and Acme’s official headquarters is in Wellington offices in Wellington, Florida. Upon incorporation all Acme employees became employees of Wellington. However, certain employees are assigned to the District for operations and maintenance while others are allocated to Acme for administration and managerial purposes. According to the Interlocal Agreement (Exhibit 4), Wellington acts on behalf of the District, and was authorized to exercise certain governmental responsibilities including the approval of plats, procurement of goods and services, execution of contracts, establishment of fees, acquisition and disposal of property, effectuation of regulatory compliance and defense and prosecution of court actions. Within Wellington government, three departments oversee most areas of the District’s administration: the Wellington Manager, Finance, and Public Works.
Acme maintains water levels with pump stations and operable gates which enable staff to discharge excess storm water in a pre-storm scenario in order to achieve additional storage when it is most needed. Staff can also utilize the operable facilities to reduce the duration of flood events. They can open these gates after the storm has passed (when the peak stage in the receiving waters has begun to decline) resulting in a shorter period of inundation. With radio telemetry, they have the ability to remotely monitor and operate water management systems. Telemetry works by measuring and communicating data through wireless radio signals from remote sources to
Prior to a storm, the operations team can begin monitoring water elevations to determine whether there is a need to lower or “draw down” the levels to prevent flooding. Northern staff use laptops and wireless technology to access the system from the office, out in the field, traveling, or at home. Gates and pump stations can be operated remotely and water levels tracked to provide immediate action and real-time information.
Preserve Maintenance is also a large focus of the Public Works staff. Removal of invasive species, exotic plants, aquatic weeds, and maintenance of approximately 1,000 acres of preserves throughout the District are integral parts of water quality. Some of these preserves are accessible to the public via boardwalks and nature trails. These areas are a part of the Florida ecosystem providing homes to many species of plants and animals including endangered gopher tortoises and bald eagles.
Acme has a $6.7 million budget with no debt. The Budget is developed in conjunction with Wellington’s budget and is presented multiple times starting in June and ending in September of each year.