Monday, September 28, 2020
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The Villages

Fruitland Park takes step toward political preservation with charter review

The Fruitland Park Commission voted unanimously Thursday to set up a committee to review the city’s charter.

It could be interpreted as a first step toward setting up a political firewall to protect the city from being overrun by newcomers.

Under the city’s current charter, the mayor and commissioners are elected at large.

Under single-member districts, commissioners are elected by voters in each respective district.

This could be seen as a pre-emptive move ahead of The Villages building more than 2,000 new homes in Fruitland Park. Commissioners have previously acknowledged that the newest residents could soon outnumber current residents and completely shift the political dynamic.

Once upon a time, Sumter County was represented by districts. The successful “One Sumter” campaign changed the political landscape with at-large representation favored by voters. Today, the Sumter County Commission is dominated by Villages’ representation.

Any amendment to the city’s charter would require a public vote, most likely next November.

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