Martin County leaders believe one way to prevent another algae crisis is to convert from a septic tank to sewer system.
The thought was to use revenue from a one percent sales tax increase.
However, voters overwhelmingly shot that down earlier this week.
"Really is a lack of confidence. There's a question as to whether we're following a new direction that says business is more important than the environment," said Stuart resident Maggy Hurchalla.
Some county leaders called it a disappointment.
"It was and we could have sped up the projects," said Commissioner Harold Jenkins.
He says the county still has a 20-year plan to complete the conversions.
He and his colleagues will continue to look for other sources of funding.
"Our grant people at the county try to get every dollar they possibly can for the project," said Jenkins.
The good news in all of this, the water is still much cleaner in 2017.
"I like the fact that we got our river and our estuary back after the Summer of 2016."