moves closer to creating new ruling board
COURTESY : Daily Commercial
By Bill Koch
Published January 6, 2007
VILLAGES - Stalled plans to establish a new governing authority in The Villages
to oversee community-wide decisions will again move forward.
The attorney for the Village Center Community Development District, which is the
one of the retirement community's governing arms, put to rest several legal
concerns raised last month at a board meeting.
Archie Lowry, the Center District board's attorney, said few of the legal red
flags raised by proponents at last month's meeting had merit.
Voters in The Villages last November chose to have a special
"authority" created that would supplant some of the Village Center's
The nonbonding referendum was referred to as a "straw ballot" to gauge
Villagers' sentiments about changing the way the community is governed in areas
north of County Road 466.
"To me non-binding means non-binding. It's the decision of this board to
move forward," Lowry told Village Center board supervisors Friday morning.
Proponents of the referendum also questioned at last month's contentious board
meeting whether authority board members could hold other public offices.
"Basically, you're not in a dual office because you're in a special
district," Lowry said.
Some Villagers said they were concerned about the potential for conflicts of
interest from potential members of the new board.
The idea to create a special board arose from the developer after numerous
complaints and protests from Villagers who accused the Village Center of having
a bias and rubber-stamping developer-friendly issues. Village Center supervisors
are elected by the developer and are contractors, employees or associates. Only
one of the five lives in The Villages.
Each of the four residential community development district boards, the Village
Center board, Lady Lake and Lake County would appoint one member to the new
Lowry said he doesn't expect conflicts of interest to be a concern and said
future authority members ought to disclose any "financial interests"
before voting on matters.
"You need to disclose and probably not vote," he said.
Village Center board Supervisor Gary Moyer, who helped author the referendum,
made the motion at Friday's meeting to contact the other boards and Lady Lake
about appointing a representative for the transitional authority board.
Prospective authority members would have to seek a seat on the board in regular
elections beginning in 2008.
Last month's meeting following the Nov. 7 vote became heated when several
Villagers raised doubts about the developer's and the Village Center's motives
and intentions for the authority.
Moyer, who also works for the developer as a vice president, countered by saying
the initiative originated with the developer.
"We're fully in support of the authority. We want to do it right,"
said Moyer, who became red-faced several times during the discussions in early
Joe Gorman, president of The Villages Property Owners' Association, said the
agreement that forms the authority is unclear on authority members'
relationships to the developer.
The Villages has ten resident-based community development districts. Development
is complete in the first six and is underway in the rest. Districts 1 through 4
have resident-elected boards while the others still have developer-selected
boards. The developer also selects board members for the Village Center and
Sumter Landing community development districts, which govern The Villages'
commercial areas and direct some community-wide functions. Villagers' monthly
amenity fees fund the two commercial-based boards.
Moyer, who also helped draft state legislation on community development
districts, said the agreement which binds the seven separate governing boards
together cannot be changed at this time.
Moyer said he expects a transitional board to be seated by later this year or
early next year.