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The Villages
Friday, June 9, 2023

Villagers facing economic pressures calling for cap on amenity fees

Villagers facing economic pressures want a cap on amenity fees.

The Amenity Authority Committee, which oversees amenities north of County Road 466, will discuss a possible cap on amenity fees in a meeting set for 9 a.m. Wednesday at Savannah Center. AAC Chairman Don Deakin has called for input from residents on the possibility of reinstating what is known as the “deferral rate cap.”

Many readers responded to a call from the Villages-News.com for their thoughts ahead of the AAC meeting.

There should be a cap on amenity fees. Seniors function better when there are not many surprises,” said Villager Gail Robinson.

Robinson added that residents should all be paying the same rate.

“Many residents get soooo upset when their neighbor is paying $1.71 less than them! It’s just a ‘senior’ thing, but it is a thing. The older a person gets, the more difficulty they have in understanding formulas,” Robinson added.

However, Eileen Milligan of the Village of Rio Ponderosa warned that formulas are important.

Could the amenity fees be capped at figures based on longevity? Many long-time residents feel the pinch. Originally, they paid an approximate fee of $99. For instance – a 20-year resident would be capped at a certain figure – a 25-year resident at a certain figure etc.,” she said.

If there is going to be a cap, residents have some specific ideas as to the rate at which it should be set.

“Please put a cap on the amenity fees of $179. I am a widowed resident of The Villages and living on a fixed income. With the cost of living going up on everything, it makes it hard to keep up when Social Security is not going up to keep up with inflation,” said Bobbie Vayo of the Village of Chatham.

Sharon Ehlers of the Village of Orange Blossom Gardens agrees with a $179 cap.

“I think there should be a cap and at $179. With everything going on right now, people with fixed incomes do not need any more adjustments to their budgets,” Ehlers said.

Villager Bob Karkoska said the previous cap should not have been removed. In 2010, the AAC established an amenity fee deferral rate cap of $155 per month. In 2019, the AAC, working arm-in-arm with the Project Wide Advisory Committee, removed the deferral rate cap. The AAC oversees amenities north of County Road 466 and PWAC does the same south of County Road 466.

“Yes, there should be a cap on the fees. I was told when we bought our house that the fees would increase every year until it reached $155 per month. It turns out that was a lie. I am paying $168.42. It hurts cause I am on a fixed income,” said Villager Bob Karkoska. 

Will PWAC feel the pressure next?

The AAC is looking at the reinstatement of the cap, but PWAC is not.

However, Villages-News.com heard from plenty of residents south of County Road 466.

Absolutely there should be a cap on amenity fees – it should be $179. One of the reasons we (and many others, I’m sure) bought in The Villages was the fact that there wasn’t an ever changing, ever increasing HOA fee. But the amenity fee is surely starting to look like an HOA fee,” said Diane Ruggiero of the Village of Osceola Hills.

And she’s tired of hearing about inflation.

“The fact is that with the MASSIVE amount of new construction by the Developer, which translates to residential sales and commercial rents, surely is bringing in enough money to cover the inflation factor and more,” she said.

Becky Moody of the Village of Fernandina agrees with the idea of a cap.

“Since The Villages promised no more building past State Road 44 and now they will continue to build probably to Orlando. So the fee will keep rising until a cap is put into effect. A 9 percent increase this year is just too much,” Moody said.

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