Saturday, February 27, 2021
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The Villages

New commissioners appear hesitant to fulfill campaign promise

To the Editor:

How disappointing that newly elected Sumter commissioners balked at their first opportunity to fulfill a very explicit campaign promise, that is, to shift the financial burden of Villages infrastructure south of 44 from existing taxpayers to developers, contractors, businesses and new home buyers.
This issue is a zero-sum game. The capital improvements to support Villages expansion south of 44 are going to be paid by someone, in simplest terms, by either the existing taxpayers of the county or by the developers, contractors businesses and new home buyers south of 44 (or some combination thereof). The recent election made very clear that the majority of existing taxpayers strongly desire that the burden be shifted from them, and put directly on the businesses benefiting from the southward expansion.
It is no surprise that this has caused the developers, contractors and businesses great angst.  Why wouldn’t it?  After all, they are being generously subsidized by the existing taxpayers of the county. As far as all of the concerns raised by developers and businesses regarding a slowing of growth south of 44 should impact fees be raised, I suggest the commissioners check with their existing tax base to see if that is of any concern to them. I venture a guess that a slowing of the growth in The Villages south of 44 would not be viewed as a negative by most of the existing taxpayers. They might even consider it a positive development.  The threats of slower growth are a red herring anyway.  Does anyone really believe that $3,000 or $4,000 added to the price of a $300,000 home is going to make any difference?  Really?  And should UF Health delay expansion plans in the county due to higher taxes, does anyone really believe that other health providers will not fulfill the demand for heath services of another hundred-thousand or so future Villagers?
So commissioners, keep the only promise that put you in office. Shift the burden of The Villages expansion south of 44 from the existing taxpayers to the developers, contractors, businesses and new home buyers south of 44. Raise the impact fees or issue bonds to be paid for by the incremental tax revenues from southward expansion. Just keep the promise that put you in office and give tax relief to the existing taxpayers who voted you in to do just that. Nothing more, nothing less.

Curt Bogle
Village of Osceola Hills

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