of The Villages News
By Meta Minton
Published April 18, 2019
The Project Wide Advisory Committee on Monday bulled ahead
with abolishing the amenity fee cap despite a change of heart by two of its
members and relentless questioning from a resident.
The cap of $155 per month, or what is called the amenity deferral rate, will be
abolished as of October.
That means that 67 percent of homeowners south of County Road
466 who currently enjoy the $155 cap will be subject to increases.
Marilyn Iskra, of the Village of Osceola Hills at Soaring
Eagle, said her Properties of The Villages sales agent had touted the amenity
cap at the time she and her husband purchased their home. She said she feared
legal action could be taken by some residents who had been given similar
promises by their sales agents.
“I don’t want my money being used to fight a lawsuit,” she told PWAC members,
who were meeting in a joint session with the Amenity Authority Committee at
Laurel Manor Recreation Center.
District Counsel Scott Gerken said that was unlikely.
“We have no control over what the Developer or the sales people say,” Gerken
Villager Ron Ruggeri, a former Community Development District 7 supervisor who
previously served as a PWAC member, went to the podium armed with a legal pad
and a lot of questions. He offered suggestions, including bringing in an outside
consultant to evaluate the situation.
A family enjoys a game of basketball Monday morning at
the basketball courts at Laurel Manor Recreation Center.
PWAC Chairman Peter Moeller repeatedly tried to cut off
Ruggeri, citing a three-minute limit on speakers. Members of the audience
shouted that they would gladly yield their time to Ruggeri.
“Let him speak. Let him speak,” the audience called out. “He’s the only one
making any sense.”
Moeller scolded the audience.
“That’s not the way it works,” he said.
Ruggeri claimed to have unearthed a document which showed that attorney Archie
Lowery at one point had advised the AAC it had the authority to charge for guest
passes. One PWAC member made that suggestion earlier in the discussion and last
week Villager Karen Tynes, who has a history of activism in The Villages,
formally called on the AAC to at least consider charging for guest passes.
Frank Lynch, of the Village of Virginia Trace, charged that Villagers are paying
for “outsiders” who come in and use amenities that are supposed to be restricted
to residents and their guests.
“How many times do you check IDs at pools? You don’t. How many times do you
check IDs at pickleball courts? You don’t. How about checking people who DON’T
belong here?” he asked.
PWAC member Chuck Wildzunas, a resident of the Village of Winifred, said he had
received many email and phone calls since he and other PWAC members came to a
unanimous consensus April 8 that that the cap should be abolished.