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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Resident tells CDD 7 supervisors she’s unhappy about board’s direction

A resident of Community Development District 7 spoke out Thursday before the board of supervisors about her displeasure with the board’s direction on its relationship with the Project Wide Advisory Committee and changing legal counsel.

Joan Brown of the Village of Bonita said she and her husband moved to Florida’s Friendliest Hometown in 2015.

“We are enthusiastic about the upkeep of The Villages,” she said.

She said she has grown concerned about CDD 7’s relationship with PWAC, which is made up of community development districts south of County Road 466. The aim of PWAC is to pool resources in an effort to avoid catastrophic risks.

“We strongly disagree with your decision to fire the previous legal counsel,” Brown told the supervisors.

CDD 7 supervisors decided to end their relationship with previous counsel Brionez & Brionez after attorney Mark Brionez reported a conflict of interest when it comes to PWAC. He also represents the other CDDs which make up PWAC. The board recruited Tallahassee firm Hopping Green & Sams, knowing that the move could be more costly.

Board Chairman Jerry Vicenti told Brown the supervisors had no other choice. He said it was Brionez & Brizonez that revealed the conflict of interest.

“We were caught in the middle, because we had a law firm that said they can’t represent us when it comes to this issue,” Vicenti said. “Why we would pay a lawyer that can’t represent 50 percent of our issues?”

PWAC makes up about 50 percent of CDD 7’s annual budget.

At the same time, CDD 7 supervisors are growing impatient with their unfilled requests to determine their return on investment when it comes to PWAC. CDD 7’s most recent PWAC budget commitment was about $1.3 million. Supervisors want to know how much CDD 7 is getting in return.

“In my opinion, that number is not going to be even close to $1.3 million,” Vicenti said.

Supervisor Bill Von Dohlen pointed out that the Sumter Landing Community Development District’s PWAC contribution was $103,865. He was reminded that PWAC allocations are based on accessible acreage.

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