Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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The Villages

Developer’s newspaper won’t tell you truth about taxes

Scott Fenstermaker

The Aug.  4 Daily Sun features the totally misleading headline:  Sumter Leads in Tax Rankings Again. The article then attributes the low tax rate to the Sumter County commissioners. The whole article is carefully crafted BS, designed to try to fool voters into thinking that the Developer’s puppets (Butler, Burgess, and Printz) on the County Commission are doing a good job and are actually representing the residents. 

Start with the headline.  It only refers to “Sumter”.  It does not say “Sumter County”.  Know why?  It is because the only tax on your local tax bill for which the Developer’s puppets are responsible is the Sumter County tax, and that tax is high. Here are the County Tax millage rates for the tri-County area:

Lake      5.118

Marion   4.42

Sumter   6.700

Why is our Sumter County tax so high? It is high because the Developer’s puppets are paying for the Developer’s county infrastructure out of our taxes instead of raising the Developer’s sweetheart impact fee — which should be paying for that infrastructure.  A simple way to think of this is that every time you pay your county tax, you are writing the Developer a check in the amount of your tax increase.

Don Burgess, Al Butler and Steve Printz, from left.

The total taxes on our local tax bill are, indeed, relatively low.  Why?  The Villages is a retirement community.  Therefore, our school system does not have to provide schools for a whole lot of kids.  This has absolutely nothing to do with the County Commission, which does not run the school system.  Likewise, we are also relatively prosperous and law abiding, and, therefore, we don’t need a lot of County resources.

In fact, the Developer’s puppets have shown themselves to be totally unscrupulous. 

They use, as indicated above, a combination of a sweetheart impact fee for the Developer and a 25% tax increase for the rest of us to pay for County infrastructure that should be paid for by the Developer, thereby effectively putting hundreds of millions of our tax dollars into the Developer’s pocket; and with no critical analysis, give the Developer all the approvals and legislation that he wants to facilitate the massive sprawl of The Villages– thereby giving the rest of us:

  • higher taxes,
  • traffic congestion,
  • crowded facilities,
  • an increased risk of sinkholes,
  • a never-ending expanse of look-alike houses, packed together on tiny lots,
  • increased strain on a second-rate health-care system and a one-star-rated hospital,
  • limited appreciation of the value of our homes because of the ever-increasing supply of housing, and
  • an endangered water supply.

Now, in an effort to stay in office and keep the Developer’s money train rolling, the puppets are collaborating with the Developer to:

• Run, quite possibly in violation of the law, fake candidates Wahl and Prince to disenfranchise over 45,000 voters;

• Feature pro-puppet-puff pieces, thinly disguised as news, in the Developer’s newspaper, with glowing stories extolling the puppets;

Skirt the $1,000 limit and raise a huge war chest by taking campaign contributions via Developer associates and suppliers; and

Use the resulting huge war chest to run ads in mailers and in the Developer’s newspaper that are full of lies, misleading information, and crazy allegations, even calling the mathematically provable 25% County Tax increase “Fake News”.  (For some reason the ads and the puff pieces never mention three words: Developer’s impact fee.  I wonder why.)

Gary Search, Craig Estep and Oren Miller, from left.

How dumb do the Developer and his puppets think we are? Let’s sanitize the Sumter County Commission cesspool by electing the EMS team of Estep, Miller, and Search: true Republicans (not Developer puppets), competent, experienced, and, most importantly, honest.

Scott Fenstermaker is a resident of The Villages.

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