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The Villages
Thursday, March 16, 2023

Official worried about another assessment hike as expensive problem looms at villas

Christine Bradshaw

An elected official in The Villages went “on record” this week with her concerns that another assessment hike could be in the future because of the failure of an underdrain system at two villa communities.

“I just want to go on record that I am anxious about it,” Community Development District 10 Supervisor Christine Bradshaw said at Thursday’s board meeting at SeaBreeze Recreation Center.

The board received the bad news that it will have to pay for a $45,000 civil engineering study to begin to fix the longstanding drainage problems at the Callahan Villas and the Belle Glade Villas.

That could be the tip of the iceberg.

The roadways in those villa units will have to be “trenched” up for the repairs. And then CDD 10 residents will bear the costs of the mill and overlay roadwork to lay it all to rest.

Villager Kim Whittemore provided this photo of the roadway in the Callahan Villas. The roadway is prematurely deteriorating due to problems with an underdrain system.

Director of Property Management Bruce Brown couldn’t offer a ballpark estimate for the total costs.

Earlier this year, the CDD 10 Board of Supervisors reluctantly voted to raise by 8 percent the maintenance assessments paid by residents. At the time, CDD 10 supervisors declared, “We don’t want to be Sumter County,” in reference to the huge 25 percent tax rate hike approved by the Sumter County Commission in 2019. CDD 10 supervisors said they were looking to the future and wanted to bolster financial reserves.

CDD 10 Board Chairman Don Wiley, who also serves as the chairman of the Project Wide Advisory Committee, was disappointed that PWAC could not pick up the tab for the repairs of the drainage problems in the villas. The stated mission of PWAC is to share potentially painful infrastructure repair costs. However, villas do not fall under the purview of PWAC. The costs of maintaining villas, including roads, falls to the individual CDDs.

Supervisor Steve Bova pointed out the underdrain failure appears to be occurring elsewhere in The Villages, including the Soulliere Villas constructed by the Developer at about the same time the Callahan Villas and Belle Glade Villas were built. The drainage problem is causing the premature deterioration of roadways in the Soulliere Villas, too.

“We are looking at a chunk of change for a system we are not sure was installed properly,” Bova said. “I see this with the new villas up north. Was this a construction issue?”

Brown said it is “not common for an underdrain system to fail” and indicated the repaired underdrain system will be modeled after the ones used in new villas south of State Road 44 in The Villages.

District Manager Kenny Blocker, successor to Richard Baier whose retirement becomes official in January, pledged there would be a “full communication plan” to keep residents of the two villa communities informed of the upcoming work. It does not appear that residents will be prevented from getting in and out of their homes while the work is taking place.

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