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The Villages
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Villagers blast Sumter County’s ‘arrogance’ on Morse Boulevard statistics and safety

Villagers concerned about traffic accidents on Morse Boulevard are blasting the Sumter County Commission over its “arrogance” on statistics and safety on the busy roadway north of County Road 466.

Red-shirted Villagers attended the Community Development District 1 meeting on Friday morning at Savannah Center still bitter from the lack of concern shown Tuesday night when they went before the Sumter County Commission.

“There is very little interest in the safety of the residents,” said Jim Vaccaro of the Village of De La Vista West, a leader of the group.

He poked fun at the county’s statistics on traffic accidents on the roadway which show there have been no deaths. He pointed specifically to the death of a snowbird in 2021 when he left a postal station in a golf cart and collided with a two-seater Mercedes.

The fatal February 2021 accident involved a golf cart and two-seater Mercedes.

“Nobody was killed in a golf cart?” Vaccaro asked. “That’s what the county says.”

He said the outright denial that there have been deaths on Morse Boulevard shows the “arrogance” of county officials.

Villager Brad Burton alleged that the county has “cherry picked” statistics to justify it’s inaction on the traffic problems.

He also criticized the CDD 1 Board of Supervisors for what he sees as their inaction on the problem.

“You hear only what you want to hear and use your procedural power to control (the discussion),” Burton said. “Everybody points to somebody else. Enough is enough. It’s time to stop passing the buck.”

Supervisor Rocky Hyder, who has been trying to work with the county on the issue, said the residents have a point when it comes to Morse Boulevard safety.

“I think what this group wants is to see us as their champions in this cause,” Hyder said. “Quite frankly, they are getting are excuses.”

Spurred on by the residents, CDD 1 supervisors agreed to examine the potential of a fresh engineering report to look at the issue. The supervisors will discuss the cost of a new engineering report at its upcoming budget workshop set for 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 18 at Savannah Center.

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