TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Residents in Broward and Palm Beach Counties seeking money from the state for destroying citrus trees during an eradication effort must first go to the state Legislature to secure nearly $27 million in payments, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday.

The appellate court overturned a lower court ruling that said Palm Beach County residents were eligible for about $19 million in payments from the Department of Agriculture, which spearheaded efforts to stem the spread of citrus canker by cutting down infected and healthy trees to prevent the spread of the disease.

Broward County residents were eligible for about $8 million.

The DCA ruling says that residents seeking payment must first exhaust their attempts before the Legislature before going to court.

About 40,000 Palm Beach County residents sought payment for trees destroyed during the eradication effort that was terminated in 2006.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”


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