FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE MOTION FOR REHEARING AND
DISPOSITION THEREOF IF FILED
appeal from an order of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Christina K. Daly, Secretary.
Matthew G. Minter, County Attorney, Ocala, for Appellant
Michael S. Craig, County Attorney, Bartow, for Appellant Polk
Bryant Applegate, County Attorney; Lynn P. Porter-Carlton,
Deputy County Attorney; and Ann E. Colby, Assistant County
Attorney, Sanford, for Appellant Seminole County.
Gregory T. Stewart, Carly J. Schrader, and Lynn M. Hoshihara
of Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson, P.A., Tallahassee, for
Seminole, Polk, and Marion Counties.
Berkowitz, General Counsel; John Milla and Michael J.
Wheeler, Assistant General Counsels, Tallahassee, for
Department of Juvenile Justice.
three appellate cases are all that remain of a large
consolidated appeal involving the Department of Juvenile
Justice (the Department) and twenty Florida counties over the
juvenile detention cost-sharing system in section 985.686,
Florida Statutes. The three appellant counties, Marion, Polk,
and Seminole, joined seventeen other counties in challenging
the Department's annual reconciliations of their
estimated costs with the actual costs of secure juvenile
detention, arguing, among other things, that the
Department's reconciliation contravened section 985.686.
After legislation was passed in 2016, seventeen of the
counties voluntarily dismissed their appeals. Marion, Polk,
and Seminole argue they should not be compelled to dismiss
their appeals because, due to their unique positions, the
2016 legislation does not affect them. We agree.
Section 985.686, Florida Statutes, creates a system by which
the costs of juvenile detention are shared between the
counties and the State. The counties are responsible for the
costs of secure juvenile detention for detention occurring
prior to "final court disposition, " sometimes
referred to as "pre-disposition, " and the State is
responsible for all other costs of secure detention,
sometimes referred to as "post-disposition." §
985.686(3) & (5), Fla. Stat. Exactly where the line is
drawn to delineate pre- and post-disposition has been the
source of heavy litigation over the years.
participating county "shall"
incorporate into its annual budget sufficient funds to pay
its estimated share of costs based on the prior use of secure
detention for juveniles who are residents of the county, as
calculated by the Department. § 985.686(5), Fla. Stat.
The county pays its estimated costs at the beginning of each
month. Id. "Any difference between the
estimated costs and actual costs shall be reconciled at the
end of the state fiscal year." Id.
Department promulgated rules contained in Chapter 63G-1,
Florida Administrative Code, to implement section 985.686.
For the years involved in these appeals, the Department
performed an annual reconciliation and provided each county
with an annual reconciliation statement for the previous
fiscal year, which "shall reflect the difference between
the amount paid by the county based on the estimated
utilization and the actual utilization[.]" Rule
63G-1.017(4) & (5), Fla. Admin. Code. With regard to any
overpayments found in the annual reconciliation, rule
63G-1.017(6) provides that the overpaying county is to
receive a forwarding credit applied to the next year's
Polk, and Seminole Counties are unique in that they
participated in the cost-sharing system for a period of time,
but elected to opt out of the system as allowed by section
985.686(10), Florida Statutes. Marion County opted out in
November 2010, Polk County in October 2011, and Seminole
County in 2012. For all or part of the fiscal years at issue,
these counties paid their required estimated costs. After the
Department published its annual reconciliations for Fiscal
Years 2009-2010, 2010-2011, and 2011-2012, the appellants
joined various other counties in administrative challenges to
each of the three annual reconciliations. Final hearings were
scheduled in each of the cases.
administrative challenges were abated pending a final
decision in a rule challenge filed by several counties that
challenged the Department's rules in Chapter 63G-1 as
inconsistent with section 985.686 and an invalid exercise of
delegated legislative authority. The rule challenge resulted
in a finding that the Department's interpretation of
section 985.686 was improper and that the rules in place at
the time were invalid and resulted in overcharges to the
counties. See Okaloosa Cty. et al. v. Dep't of
Juvenile Justice, DOAH Case No. 12-0891RX (Final Order
July 17, 2012); Dep't of Juvenile Justice v. Okaloosa
Cty., 11 ...