COURTESY : Ocala Star Banner
residents to weigh in on operation of services
Owners' association supports
"no" vote; wants more resident control of amenities.
By HARRIET DANIELS
Published October 21, 2006
VILLAGES - The informal poll - by show of hands - taken at a recent meeting of
the Villages Property Owners' Association may be an early indicator of how
residents plan to vote regarding who governs their amenities fees.
In the room of about 100 residents, all raised their hands for the
"No" vote, indicating they do not like the way they are charged for
|POA President Joe Gorman expressed
his surprise to the crowd, saying, "Most people I've talked to
don't want to fool around with this, saying they like it just the
way it is."
The group is among several resident organizations voicing opinions
about the issue in hopes of impacting the Nov. 7 outcome at the
polls, especially with early voting starting Monday in Marion
Residents at the meeting picked up fliers in favor of voting
"No," several commenting that they have seen signs posted
promoting a "Yes" vote.
Gorman said the Property Owners' Association is advocating the
"Yes, the developer has done a good job,
but we have to separate the two things
here . . .
referendum (straw ballot) regarding operational control of the
Villages Center District on Nov. 7 for registered voters in The
YES: if you like the way amenity programs, facilities and
services are currently being provided by The Villages Center
District and would prefer they continue to be operated as they are
NO:if you prefer to change the way that amenity programs,
facilities and services are being provided north of County Road
466 by creating a separate administrative entity by interlocal
agreement among the numbered districts, Lake County and The
Villages Center District.
activities and administrative/governmental activities," he said. "The
governing activities is what we are most upset about and can challenge with this
vote . . . it's taxation without representation."
The Villages amenity system is controlled by commercial stakeholders who are
elected by The Villages Center Community Development District. The amenity fees
support recreation centers, Neighborhood Watch programs and executive golf
courses. Registered voters in The Villages - including 7,050 in Marion County -
will vote on whether they want the system to remain the same or want to push for
Richard Lambrecht, chairman of the District 4 (Marion County) Board of
Supervisors, helped answer questions about the ballot issue at the meeting. He
stressed that changing the system could possibly help ensure 100 percent of the
amenity fees are used for recreation services and that a reserve fund is
established for future maintenance.
"We have to have residents following every step of the way. It can only
help," he said.
Following the meeting he told the Star-Banner, "The developer has sold all
the homes north of 466, so there is no impetus to keep the amenities. We may not
get another chance to have a say about this."
The straw ballot, however, is nonbinding - but Gorman is hopeful if voters voice
their desire for change, that representatives - including residents - can
negotiate an interlocal agreement to control the amenity program, facilities and
In concluding the meeting, Gorman shared with residents his belief that The
Villages will evolve into a form of government resembling that of the cities and
towns from which residents relocated.
"We could have supervisors elected from each area and even have a mayor . .
. I think we are on the brink of some big changes," he said.