Are Villagers mad at the Developer for the wrong reason?

Scott Fenstermaker

The Villagers’ outrage, as expressed in numerous letters to the editor, at the Developer’s selling VIP tickets for the Christmas-tree lighting is understandable, but misdirected.

With regard to the VIP Christmas-tree-lighting tickets, we have a choice as to whether or not to pay. While the Developer’s charging fifty bucks to see the lighting is crass, what should really piss people off is not the Developer exploiting the tree-lighting to make a profit. After all, the Developer is in business to make money. Furthermore, the $50 VIP tickets have been a public-relations disaster for The Villages and probably have scared off a few new-home buyers; so the Developer has gotten his comeuppance for his greed.

In fact, what should really piss people off is not the Christmas-tree brouhaha. What should really piss people off is being hit with a massive Sumter County tax increase so that the Developer’s County Commissioners don’t have to increase the Developer’s sweetheart impact fee to pay for the Developer’s massive infrastructure expansion. We have no choice but to pay the increased taxes, and those increased taxes, in reality, are going right into the Developer’s pocket. Over the years, the tax increase will cost each and every Sumter County Villager one hell of a lot more than a $50 ticket to see some lights turned on, and it is the tax increase that Villagers should be outraged about.

More importantly, Villagers should channel that outrage into voting against Sumter County Commissioners Butler, Burgess, and Printz in next August’s Republican primary — which, as a practical matter in Sumter County, is when the next county commissioners will be elected.

Villager Scott Fenstermaker is a frequent contributor to