The trio of Sumter County Commission incumbents each raked in more than $60,000 in political contributions during the first two weeks of June.
The incumbents – Villagers Don Burgess, Al Butler and Steve Printz – are all facing opponents in the Aug. 18 election. The three incumbents have been feeling the heat since the decision last year to raise taxes by 25 percent.
The Developer of The Villages, who is widely seen as the real winner of the tax increase that will fund infrastructure for the growth of The Villages south of State Road 44, did not contribute to the incumbents’ campaigns. However, people who work for the Developer or who have businesses poised to benefit from the growth of The Villages were the primary donors to the campaigns.
Burgess reported $62,750 in campaign contributions between June 1 and 12. Butler collected $62,900 in campaign contributions for the same period and Printz took in $61,300 in contributions.
Leading the way among contributors are the T&D companies – T&D Supplies, T&D Distribution, T&D Concrete Inc., T&D Pool Construction and T&D Stucco – with $1,000 each per candidate. T&D owners Terry and Glendora Yoder each gave $500 to each of the candidates. That adds up to $18,000 in total that T&D has ponied up for the incumbents. Sumter County Commissioner Doug Gilpin, who is not up for re-election, works for T&D.
Companies outside of Sumter County also poured plenty of money into the incumbents’ coffers, including Timberwood Properties Inc. of Lady Lake which gave $1,000 to each of the incumbents and Summers Enterprises of Lake County headquartered in Leesburg, which contributed $1,000 to each of the incumbents. And Baily Industries Inc. of Leesburg also donated $1,000 to each of the incumbents. Each are cabinet makers and could make a small fortune by building cabinets in all of those new homes south of State Road 44.
Donors from outside of Sumter County include Fred Nickel Tile of Ocala, Patriot Builders of Summerfield, Bernard Painting Services of Leesburg, Geremy Crouch Construction LLC of Dunnellon, Tri-County Landscape of Summerfield, Kling Towing of Fruitland Park, Kling Painting of Fruitland Park, Munn’s Sales & Service Inc. of Fruitland Park, Precision Trim and Services of Inverness, Express Tops LLC of Gotha, Raymond Seijas Plastering Inc. of Hernando, Wade Surveying Inc. of Lady Lake, Batterbee Roofing of Ocala, Sunshine Stucco of Leesburg, Sun Kool air conditioning of Ocala, Down to Earth landscaping of Tangerine, Leware Construction of Leesburg, Water Wizard of Lady Lake, Andreyev Engineering of Sanford, Geo-Technologies of Ocala, Blackton Inc. flooring company of Orlando, Amscot Corp. of Tampa which specializes in cable splicing, Southeast Environmental Solutions of Plant City, Flatwoods Consulting Group of Tampa and Florida Paints & Coating LLC of Winter Garden.
Local companies also donated generously, including Rainey Construction which gave each of the incumbents $1,000, Great Lakes Carpet & Tile which added $1,000 to each incumbent’s campaign fund, Pike Electric which contributed $1,000 to each of the incumbents, Galaxy Homes Solutions which gave each incumbent $1,000 and Floormasters which added $1,000 to each of the candidates’ campaign funds.
And, as promised, the Sumter County Republican Executive Committee, donated $5,000 to each of the incumbents.
There were some interesting individual contributions:
• Dale Borrowman, owner of Technology Solutions Group, gave $1,000 to each of the incumbents. Borrowman lives in the Morse family compound on County Road 466.
• His neighbor in the Morse family compound, Michael Pape, the longtime landscape architect in The Villages, also gave $1,000 to each of the incumbents through his Ocala firm. He and his wife also gave each of the incumbents $500.
• Thomas “Tommy” McDonough, the director of development for The Villages, gave each of the incumbents $500. He also lives in the Morse family compound.
• Michelle Robau of Marco Island gave $1,000 to Printz’s campaign. She describes herself as an “retiree.”
• Ocala resident Richard Busche, an engineer with Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc., gave $100 to each of the incumbents. He is well known for his role in advising on the project to repair sloughing at the Morse Boulevard Bridge embankment.