challenges status quo
says he’s tired of his commission acting
rubber stamp for Villages developer
COURTESY : Daily Commercial
By Megan Shannon
Published January 31, 2006
THE VILLAGES -
THE VILLAGES — The chairman of The Villages Community
Development District 4 is tired of his board rubber-stamping everything that
comes from the center district.
District 4 supervisors on Friday voted to support Chairman Rich Lambrecht in
questioning the way The Villages operates and whether taxpayers are being
As Lambrecht began researching the respective financial responsibilities of the
district and The Villages of Lake Sumter Inc. late last year, he said he
stumbled upon some questions that the District 4 board can no longer ignore.
“We have an obligation to spend the taxpayers’ money appropriately,” he
Village Center Community Development District board governs the commercial
district north of County Road 466. Its board is elected by The Villages of
Lake-Sumter Inc. and the owners of the commercial properties in the district.
The VCCDD also provides contractual services to residents in the four community
development districts north of C.R. 466. Residents pay fees both to the center
district and to their district’s CDD for services. How those assessments are
spent is the source of Lambrecht’s concerns.
The District 4 board of supervisors was originally chosen by The Villages
developer, but as the properties in the district became increasingly
resident-owned, residents voted for a larger number of the supervisors. The last
two developer-elected supervisors resigned in December. Lambrecht said the
District 4 board is still acting as it did when it was developer-elected.
Meetings last only 15 minutes, he said, because the supervisors approve anything
that comes their way.
“We need to make more informed decisions,” he said.
Lambrecht has been on the board for a little more than one year. He said as he
learned how things worked in The Villages, he began to question how some things
The supervisors agreed Friday to submit questions relating to the creation of
District 4, sinkholes, retention pond creation and expense, current
beneficiaries of the district’s stormwater system and the origins of the
easement agreement that charges residents of that district with the creation,
construction and maintenance of retention ponds.
The questions dig into the District 4 board history of approvals to see why some
decisions were made, like the board’s decision to create wet ponds versus dry
ponds, which Lambrecht found are considerably less expensive. That decision was
made when the board was still developer-elected.
“We want to make sure the taxpayers’ money was spent wisely and will be in
the future,” Lambrecht said.
The District 4 board requested that staff have detailed answers to their
questions by their February meeting so they can set up a March workshop to
inform the board and the residents.
District Manager Pete Wahl, who oversees the VCCDD and its counterpart, the
Sumter Landing Community Development District, said he would not have time to
answer the questions in detail but promised a progress report.