Community Development District 7 supervisors are considering a possible secession from the Project Wide Advisory Committee over The Villages’ expansion south of State Road 44.
That possibility was raised by Supervisor Ron Ruggeri, a former member of PWAC, who said he believes its membership should be limited to CDDs 5 through 11.
“When PWAC was established, The Villages was supposed to stop at 44,” Ruggeri said at Thursday morning’s CDD 7 Board of Supervisors meeting.
Ruggeri said he is concerned about the potential ballooning of PWAC as the Developer is planning to build another 60,000 homes in the aggressive southern expansion of Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.
“Our costs have increased as the PWAC budget has increased,” Ruggeri said.
He pointed out that PWAC pays for things like the repairs at the embankment at the Morse Boulevard Bridge, upkeep of the lighthouse at Lake Sumter Landing and the replacement of rotting wood at Brownwood Paddock Square. The expansion of PWAC would bring in the expense for the new golf cart bridges and other infrastructure being built south of State Road 44.
“If you’ re going to add more on, our costs should go down, not up,” Ruggeri said. “It’s costing our residents money.”
Ruggeri said the residents of CDD 7 have been contributing “a million dollars a year to PWAC.” In 2019-20, the CDD 7 contribution to PWAC is budgeted at $1.29 million. The average cost this year per household in CDD 7 for PWAC is $272.77 up from $245.16 in 2011-12.
The idea behind PWAC is sharing infrastructure costs so that a particular CDD does not eat those costs alone. Community Development District 4, which is outside of PWAC, had to raise its maintenance assessment rate by 20 percent in the wake of catastrophic sinkholes that opened up in February 2018.
However, Ruggeri said CDD 7 could protect itself from a similar situation by purchasing a hefty insurance policy.
Supervisor William Vondohlen reiterated his objections of last year to a legal agreement that locks CDD 7 into PWAC for 20 years. He said he objects to PWAC’s “advisory” status and said the real decision-making power falls to the Developer’s hand-picked board members of the Sumter Landing Community Development District.
“We need a legal opinion whether we can get out of this thing,” Vondohlen said.
District Counsel Mark Brionez offered his legal opinion on CDD 7’s agreement with PWAC, indicating that “both parties” would have to agree to a separation.