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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Rep. Hage’s bill limiting impact fees on his boss wins approval in House vote

Rep. Brett Hage

A bill championed by state Rep. Brett Hage, R-The Villages, won approval this week in the Florida House of Representatives and appears ready to glide through the state Senate.

The House voted 94-23 to approve the bill, which you can read at this link: House Bill 337

If approved by the state Senate, it will be sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature.

Hage, who earns a six-figure salary working as vice president for residential development in The Villages, made the bill a top priority when it became clear that Sumter County commissioners intended to raise impact fees. The Villages adamantly opposed the increase and lobbied hard against it. But in a controversial 3-2 vote, Commissioners Craig Estep, Oren Miller and Gary Search made good on their promise to voters which catapulted them into office in 2020. Sumter County voters were furious over a 25 percent property tax rate increase in 2019, which led to the trio defeating incumbents Don Burgess, Al Butler and Steve Printz. Earlier this year, commissioners voted 4-1 to reject an agreement proposed by The Villages to raise fees by 40 percent to $1,372 per home.

State Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Lady Lake, supports the bill.

The Lady Lake Commission earlier this month unanimously passed a resolution decrying the state government’s efforts to take authority away from local officials. The Florida League of Mayors is sounding the statewide alarm, warning that too much power is being usurped by politicians in Tallahassee.

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