Is Tax Exemption for a Public Housing Facility Valid ?

State ex rel. Harper v. McDavid, 145 Fla. 605, 200 So. 100 (Fla. 1941), held a tax exemption for a public housing facility valid, the Legislature had declared that housing conditions were "a menace to the health, safety, and morals of the people. . . necessitating excessive expenditures for crime and fire prevention, health, and welfare," and that public safety "demanded" replacement of slums by "sanitary and better housing facilities. " 200 So. at 101. In upholding the tax exemption for property owned by a municipal power company located in another county in Saunders, we recognized that the Legislature "was doubtless well aware of the need for light, heat and power by those areas outside of municipalities." 25 So. 2d at 650. Similarly, in Ford v. Orlando Utilities Commission, 629 So. 2d 845, 846 (Fla. 1994), the Court held that the production of electricity by a municipality's power company served a municipal purpose. See 629 So. 2d at 847. Such services are essential in that municipally owned power companies have legally protected monopolies within their territorial boundaries, and have traditionally provided these services. See 366.11(1), Fla. Stat. (2004); City of Homestead v. Beard, 600 So. 2d 450, 452 (Fla. 1992). Finally, the tax-exempt status upheld in Mikos for vacant land held by a municipality to preserve natural open spaces or for future needs, 374 So. 2d at 461, is consistent with the traditional municipal function of providing parks for the municipal population. Cf. City of Miami Beach v. Hogan, 63 So. 2d 493, 495 (Fla. 1953) (stating that "in all heavily populated municipalities the police power should be exercised by municipal officials to afford all of the people light, air, and an opportunity for recreation").