Public hearing this week to focus on increase in trash collection rates

Raising trash collection fees for the majority of Villagers will be the subject of a public hearing this week.

The North Sumter County Utility Dependent District Board will discuss the rate increase when it meets at 9 a.m. Thursday at the District Office at Lake Sumter Landing.

Earlier this year, the board sought a rate sufficiency study and had one performed by Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. Based on that report, the board is contemplating a 8.25 percent rate increase as of Oct. 1. It will be followed by nine consecutive annual increases of 2.5 percent.

NSCUDD is the water, wastewater and reclaimed water service provider to properties in The Villages that are south of County Road 466 and north of County Road 466A. Additionally, NSCUDD is the provider of the solid waste sanitation services for Marion and Sumter County, and the Fruitland Park portion of The Villages.

Community Development District 2 Supervisor Bryan Lifsey called the rate hike “unconscionable.”

“The majority of our residents live on relatively fixed incomes. For many, their primary source of retirement income is Social Security. Their annual increase in income is keyed to an increase (or decrease) in the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) as published by the U.S. Government,” Lifsey said in a letter to the NSCUDD board.

“I think government entities – such as NSCUDD – should hold their increases in budgets or rates to the same standard as our residents are tied to,” Lifsey wrote in the letter.

He pointed out that Sumter County residents are still in shock over a 24 percent tax increase. A meeting on the tax increase last month drew a crowd of 500 people, many of whom had to be turned away because the room wasn’t big enough to accommodate the crowd. The Sumter County tax increase is directly tied to the growth of The Villages.