Incorporation — The Process

How Does a Community Incorporate?

Chapter 165 of the Florida Statutes outlines the legal requirements and rules for how communities may incorporate. The Florida League of Cities offers an overview document of the process.

Below is a short, practical, summary of the process. You can also click here to watch a video.


Members of the proposed community must show an interest and willingness to incorporate. This can be done through a non-binding referendum (straw vote) at the county level, through community petitions or other similar avenues.

The community develops a feasibility study that must include, among other things:

  • A community’s boundaries
  • Fiscal estimates for tax revenues and revenue sharing
  • A draft charter, which outlines the type of government, city operations and more
  • Estimates of service delivery costs

Once the community has these materials prepared, they submit them to their local Legislative delegation.

If the delegation approves, the materials are sent to the state for review. Any needed revisions are made.

Then, a House member and a Senate member from the local delegation introduces bills in each house sponsoring the creation of the new city. Once it passes both houses, it goes to the Governor for a final signature.

Once the Governor signs off on the bill, the issue comes back to the community for a final vote administered by the county elections office and takes place during a general election. If a majority of the registered voters in the area proposed for incorporation votes in favor of incorporation, then city-hood is granted.

Once voters approve incorporation, then an election is scheduled and candidates can submit their intention to stand for election.

  • Click here to learn more about the steps undertaken by the GPICA related to incorporation


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