I am the founder and chairman of a Political Action Committee called Fair Government for Sumter.
This PAC was not formed for Republican or Democratic political purposes. It was formed for one reason: to clean up the Sumter County Commission, which has proven itself to be deeply embedded in the pocket of the Developer. We hope to clean up the commission by ousting all three of the Developer puppets who are running for re-election in the Aug. 18 Republican primary. Because Sumter County is so heavily Republican, the Republican primary is where we have to do this. The PAC is endorsing Republicans Gary Search, Craig Estep, and Oren Miller.
The puppets (Messrs. Butler, Burgess and Printz), and their two fellow Developer puppets not up for re-election this year, have handsomely repaid the Developer for his donations and political support by doing everything necessary to facilitate the Developer’s massive expansion of The Villages. This expansion gives residents: higher taxes, traffic congestion, wear and tear on our roads, crowded facilities, stagnant property values (with the ever-increasing supply of houses), a risk to our water supply (even prior to the recent expansion, we had water rationing in 2017), and increased strain on a second-rate-heath-care system.
But to top it all off, the incumbent commissioners have just given us a 25 percent county tax increase. They gave us that to pay for county infrastructure necessitated by the Developer’s massive expansion of The Villages. That infrastructure should have been paid for by increasing the Developer’s sweetheart impact fee. For those still not familiar with impact fees: An impact fee is a per-house charge imposed when a building permit is issued. It is SUPPOSED to pay for the County infrastructure necessitated by the new construction. By increasing our taxes, while maintaining a sweetheart impact fee for the Developer, the Developer’s puppets are, in essence, giving the Developer hundreds of millions of our taxpayer dollars.
Now don’t think that the Developer is going to sit back and allow his lucrative relationship with the County Commission to disappear without a fight. On June 22, his propaganda machine, The Villages Daily Sun, ran a front-page political ad for the incumbents, thinly disguised as a news article. More importantly, the Developer and his suppliers and associates have recently contributed around $180,000 to the three incumbents. Per the Sumter County Elections website, the contributions to all three challengers, Search, Estep, and Miller, total around $7,500.
If you find this as unacceptable as we do, join us. Go to www.fg4s.org and donate! We need the money to advertise and reach out to voters who are not aware of what is happening in their elected County Commission. Go to the website and read about the candidates we hope to elect. Read a history of all the maneuvering being done by the incumbents. And VOTE, Aug. 18, or by mail, or with early voting. If you are not a Republican and you want to vote, you will need to change your registration to a Republican. We will not allow the incumbents to buy this election! YOU should not allow the incumbents to buy this election.
So, if you really want to sanitize the Sumter County Commission cesspool, don’t just gripe on this website about local corruption. Click on this link to the Fair Government for Sumter website and learn more, donate, and/ or volunteer: www.fg4s.org. Whether or not you go to the website, mark your calendars for Aug. 18 to vote for Republicans Search, Estep, and Miller for County Commissioners in the Republican primary.
Villager Reed Panos is founder and chairman of a Political Action Committee called Fair Government for Sumter County.