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The Villages
Sunday, April 14, 2024

Villagers take advantage of Resident Academy to learn how The Villages functions

How many rounds of golf are annually played in The Villages? What is the District’s total budget?

The 30 residents who recently graduated from The Villages Resident Academy now know the answers.

The first: 2.1 million rounds on 38 executive courses. The second: $314 million that represents 53 separate funds.

The answers were courtesy of Eric Van Gorder, The Villages’ executive golf director, and Barbara Kays, the District’s budget director.

Trey Arnett, right, explains how the Waste Treatment Center’s oxidation tanks begin the water purification process.

They were two of the presenters at the Academy’s three morning sessions that featured in-depth discussions about all aspects of The Villages, from its development as Florida-sanctioned community development districts to the complexity of its on-going operations.

The information sessions were conducted by a faculty of key Villages leadership, starting with District Manager Janet Tutt and Assistant District Manager Richard Baier, followed by a dozen other department directors.

How many people work for The Villages?

Deborah Franklin, human resources director, reported that there are 304 full time staff members and 783 part-timers. Of the 1,087 total, 79 percent are Villages residents. She also described her department’s primary initiatives and how to join the ranks of the employed, starting with an online application.

How many annual flowers are planted each year?

Mike Harris, landscape manager, said Property Management maintains 35,000 trees and 18,000 palms, as well as supervising the planting of 389,000 annuals four times a year – in 17 million square feet of flower beds.

Director Sam Wartinbee then described his department’s other responsibilities, such as maintaining 83 recreation centers, 82 pools and other facilities, including 70 tennis and 170 pickleball courts, along with 120 miles of roads and 41 miles of multi-modal paths.

Villages Fire Department Dep. Chief Jim Goodworth, left, describes features of his department’s firefighting equipment to Resident Academy participants.

“The program answered many questions that have been long held,” said Academy participant Richard Caniglia, of Tamarind Grove. “I learned how things get done. I wonder why other governments can’t provide the same clean, safe and affordable environment as The Villages.”

The classroom discussions were followed by a tour of The Villages Fire Department’s headquarters by Dep. Chief Jim Goodworth.

How many gallons of waste water can be treated at the North Sumter Utility Plant?
A week later, the Academy participants visited the Buena Vista Boulevard site that houses the NSU and Central Sumter utilities. Trey Arnett, president of Arnett Engineering, and Linda Lapsins, treatment plant operator, led the tour and described how the co-located systems’ maximum 4.4 million-gallon-a-day capacity reclaims 95 percent of water that is directed for golf course irrigation.

Said Sanibel resident Lydia Rados, “I was especially impressed with the presentation about the complex development of the budget and its tie-in to the 15 development districts. The academy did a great job in providing correct information that helps squelch all-too-common rumors.”

What is (352) 753-4508?

That’s the phone number of The Villages’ Customer Service Center to call for more information about the Academy and to enroll for the next available session. Residents can also inquire at customerservice@districtgov.org.

“The Academy gives residents an overview of our CDDs, a behind-the-scenes look on how they operate, and helps ensure our community’s sustainability,” explained Carrie Duckett, manager of Customer & Support Services. “Our first academy was in 2009. Since then, some 300 residents have attended every year.”

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