September 30, 2023

Officers are additional tapping amenity charges to assist compensate for the $14 million loss in funding for The Villages Public Security Division.

Final month, the Sumter Fee by a 3-2 vote rejected hefty fireplace charge hikes throughout an emotional assembly that ran late into the night time at Everglades Recreation Middle.

Since that bitterly contested vote, the county and The Villages District Authorities have been scrambling to search out funding choices, as owners in The Villages nervously try and digest what this all means for them.

“We’re not laying anyone off. We’re not closing any stations,” Assistant District Supervisor Bruce Brown mentioned.

Nevertheless, each he and District Supervisor Kenny Blocker indicated there will likely be delays in filling new positions and in tools purchases.

It additionally means the $5.6 million development of Station 46 at Heat Springs Avenue and County Highway 509 will likely be placed on maintain.

Brown, who has particular accountability for overseeing The Villages Public Security Division, additionally mentioned that fireplace division personnel and assets should be “reallocated” from the northern a part of The Villages to the southern finish of Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.

District officers are additionally floating the thought of reaching into the large pot of amenity charge cash to offset the $14 million loss in funding from the county.

“We’re all alternatives,” Blocker mentioned.

Utilizing amenity cash to fund The Villages Public Security Division is just not new. Residents are already paying $4.08 per 30 days to help the fireplace division. That provides as much as about $49 per yr, per family.

Blocker pitched the amenity charge funding thought Monday to the Venture Broad Advisory Committee, which oversees facilities south of County Highway 466.

This previous week, the identical pitch was made to the Amenity Authority Committee, which oversees facilities north of County Highway 466. Nevertheless, AAC members confirmed no real interest in utilizing extra amenity cash to fund the fireplace division.

“It wasn’t properly acquired,” Blocker admitted Monday whereas talking to PWAC.

Do you help the thought of dipping into amenity cash to offer extra help to The Villages Public Security Division? Share your ideas at [email protected].