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The Villages
Thursday, June 30, 2022

2. War over impact fees roiled Sumter County Commission

A war over impact fees roiled the Sumter County Commission in 2021.

Villagers Craig Estep, Oren Miller and Gary Search were elected in a landslide in 2020 over incumbents seen as puppets doing the bidding of the Developer of The Villagers. Voters were angry about a 25 percent property tax rate increase enacted a year earlier by the “puppet” commissioners.

The trio of new commissioners tried to shift the burden from the taxpayers to the Developer. However, The Villages got the legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis to retroactively cancel the impact fees. That effort was championed by state Rep. Brett Hage. It was revealed that he was drawing a $350,000 annual salary from The Villages.

In December, Miller and Search were arrested on felony charges of perjury. They are charged with lying about alleged communication in violation of Florida’s Sunshine Law, which demands that governmental business be conducted in open public meetings. In the wake of those arrests, critics have howled that the perjury charges are payback for the effort to stick the Developer with hefty impact fees and potentially a chance to reshape the commission. The governor has the power to remove the commissioners and appoint their replacements.

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Letters to the Editor
Opinions submitted by residents in and around The Villages

We should never let a few make decisions for the majority

A Village of Mira Mesa resident revives some memories of local history and contends that we should never let a few make decisions for the majority. Read her Letter to the Editor.

You may be surprised by the cost of the new proposed fire district

A Village of Sunset Pointe resident, in a Letter to the Editor, says you may be surprised by the cost of the new proposed fire district.

We should be allowed to face our accusers

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Silver Lake resident says we should be able to face our accusers when it comes to deed compliance in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.

Where are the complaints about the Trump flags?

In a Letter to the Editor, a Village of Briar Meadow resident wonders why little white crosses are targeted as Trump flags and “Let’s Go Brandon” signs are ignored.

Abortion rights and the U.S. Supreme Court

A Lady Lake resident, in a Letter to the Editor, offers his opinion on the U.S. Supreme Court and the recent Roe v. Wade decision.

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