VII - LOCAL GOVERNMENT
A. Early Years (1975-1995) - See below.
B. Mid Years (1996-2004)
The CDD reform bill of 2002, sponsored by the POA, in the Florida Silver Hair Legislature (FSHL) 2002 Tallahassee session, was again been given Priority status.
The FSHL is a state-wide, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to meeting the needs, interests, and rights of older Floridians, as well as the general citizenry, through advocacy and education. The organization meets annually, in the chambers of the Florida legislature in Tallahassee, and conducts a realistic legislative session.
The POA bill addressed problems, abuses, and loopholes in the Chapter 190 law that created Community Development Districts (CDDs) in 1980. The POA bill has five parts, each dealing with problems in the Chapter 190 law, as follows:
This bill was passed overwhelmingly, for a second year, by FSHL delegates. This is a remarkable record for any bill. This shows a high level of concern, among delegates to the FSHL, about the abuses and problems with the Chapter 190 law. Delegates recognized that this is a state-wide problem that affects all Floridians, not just residents in The Villages or in CDDs.
- Part I: Calls for the popular election of CDD supervisors by all residents in any areas administered by the CDD;
- Part 2: Calls for a retention or dismissal vote for the CDD Administrator by all residents in any areas administered by the CDD;
- Part 3: Calls for application of state conflict-of-interests regulations to all consultants, advisors, attorneys, etc. working with CDDs;
- Part 4: Calls for approval by all residents in a CDD of the purchase of any property or facilities over a certain value and also for any related debt assumption by residents;
- Part 5: Calls for the use of a market-based appraisal of any property or facilities in excess of a certain value that a CDD purchases.
Activity Policy Reversal - 2006
The Center Districts voted to restrict residents from gathering to protest anything. A liability insurance policy, for $1 million, was also required 30 days in advance of any protest gathering. The POA opposed this action, calling it a violation of our Constitutional Rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly, and argued against it in the Bulletin. The Center Districts backed down and rescinded the rules.
Center District Financial Statement - 2004
We were the first organization to publish the financial statements of the two Center Districts. Prior to that, the District Manager said that it was not important to provide this information for residents. Thankfully, the Center Districts now routinely publish this information and includes it on their website (www.districtgov.org).
C. Current Years (2005-2015)
Passing One Sumter was one of the most beneficial voter's actions in years. It returned the county to its original roots, wherein all county residents got to vote for all the county commissioners. The result is evident. Commissioner cooperation exists again and each district has its votes magnified fivefold for the good of the county as a whole. Taxes have been reduced, self-serving projects were reduced, canals dredged, wasteful items eliminated, and everyone benefited.