Why a large number of people are enraged by the Sumter County tax hike

Scott Fenstermaker

This is in reply to the June 18 commentary by Juan Rodriguez (The 25 percent Sumter County tax increase hoax). 

In his commentary, Mr. Rodriguez attacked a recent commentary by Mr. Estep that explained the math involved in the massive 25 percent county tax hike. Mr. Rodriguez’s commentary argues that the 25 percent-county-tax-increase claim is wrong because total property taxes did not increase 25 percent.

First, I would like to thank Mr. Rodriguez for calling attention to the massive county tax increase. However, from beginning to end, Mr. Rodriguez’s commentary is flat-out wrong. The only question about it is whether he is intentionally trying to mislead readers or is merely ignorant of the scam pulled off by the Sumter County Commission. Mr. Rodriguez, NOBODY is claiming that their TOTAL property-tax bill increased 25 percent. As Mr. Estep’s commentary explained, it is COUNTY taxes that increased 25 percent.

Likewise, nobody is claiming, as Mr. Rodriguez asserts, that the “sky is falling.” Furthermore, contrary to his claim that people, like myself, who are outraged by the tax increase, are a “small, but vocal, group of people,” we are, in fact, a LARGE and vocal group of people. What we are outraged and vocal about is not just the amount of the massive county tax increase or the total amount of our property taxes. We are outraged about the REASON for the county-tax increase.

The county tax increase is not going to firemen, police, teachers, or other worthwhile causes. The county tax increase is going straight into the pocket of the Developer. Every time you pay your Sumter County tax, you are, in essence, writing a check to the Developer for the amount of your tax increase. That amount will increase every year as your assessed value increases.

This is because the Developer’s puppets on the county commission massively increased our county taxes to pay for the massive expansion of county infrastructure necessitated by the Developer’s massive expansion of The Villages — which Villages expansion has been facilitated by the Developer’s puppets. Those puppets raised our county taxes so that the commissioners would not have to increase the Developer’s sweetheart impact fee. (An impact fee is a per-house tax, payable when a building permit is issued, that is supposed to pay for the county infrastructure necessitated by the new construction.)

Three of the Developer’s puppets (Butler, Burgess, and Printz) are up for re-election in the Aug. 18 Republican primary. What Mr. Rodriguez thinks is a “small, but vocal, group of people” is going to vote the puppets out of office and elect Republicans Search, Estep, and Miller in their place. We are going to do that despite the efforts of a small group of vocal people like Mr. Rodriguez to mislead voters with name calling and crazy math and despite the efforts of the Developer and his puppets to disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters through the use of fake candidates (Wahl and Prince). For details on the disenfranchise scheme, go to: ‘Fake candidates’ reveal Developer’s desperation to cheat voters by rigging election – Villages-News.com

Scott Fenstermaker is a resident of the Village of Winifred.

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