B. Mid Years (1996-2004)
I - IRS
See Current Years (2005-2015)
II - COMMUNITY ISSUES
We conducted five Surveys through the Bulletin over the years detailing attitudes about life in The Villages. Some of the actions were later addressed by the developer and the Center Districts.
Violence on the Squares
We reported in the Bulletin on several instances of violence on the Squares. As a result, Center District administration worked with local law enforcement to provide a heightened law enforcement presence on the Squares.
III - HEALTH CARE ISSUES
Hospital Emergency Room - 2004
We noticed continuing poor service and performance in our hospital's ER over the years. We documented over 125 instances of serious problems in the ER. We publicized the problems. In response, LRMC brought in a new CEO of the hospital, a new director of the ER, dedicated more resources and staff to the ER, hired more nurses, established better training programs, and brought in three Villagers to sit on the Board of the hospital's parent organization.
Health Care - Moffitt Cancer Center - 2004
We advocated bringing this cancer center to The Villages for what we believed would be one of the crown jewels in the medical facilities of The Villages. We organized a letter-writing program, researched the demographics, argued for bringing the center here, and voiced our hopes to the appropriate decision-makers.
IV - PRODUCT RELIABILITY AND WARRANTY
V - LEGAL
See Current Years (2005-2015)
VI - DEVELOPER/SLCDD ISSUES
Issuing More Bonds - September 2002
The POA is calling for this moratorium after the VCCDD voted, at its August, 2002, meeting to start validation proceedings on three bond issues amounting to $240 million. This includes $120 million for Recreation Revenue Bonds, $100 million for Utility Revenue Bonds, and $20 million for Solid Waste Revenue Bonds. This moratorium would be in effect until the Section 190 Law that created the CDDs is clarified on the issue of appraisals and resident approvals or until a voluntary plan addressing these issues is adopted by the developer of The Villages.
Inflated Prices north of CR466 - October 2000
Newspaper articles over the past year or so have claimed that the Section 190 law that created Community Development Districts (CDDs) is being abused by developers who compel their own hand-picked boards to buy developer property at inflated prices, without market-based appraisals, and without the approval of residents whose monthly fees will be pledged to pay off the 20- and 30-year bonds issued to purchase these facilities. This practice is facilitated by a combination of advisors, bankers, attorneys, and other operatives who are exempt from state conflict-of-interests laws in their dealings with developers.
The Orlando Sentinel's award-winning series of articles in October, 2000, pointed out that in the mid-1990s Villages property valued at $8.8 million was sold by The Villages developer to The Villages VCCDD for $84 million. The property consisted of, among other things, retention ponds, guard shacks, landscaping areas, executive golf courses, recreation facilities, etc.
VII - LOCAL GOVERNMENT
The CDD reform bill of 2002 sponsored by the POA in the Florida Silver Hair Legislature (FSHL) 2002 session in Tallahassee has 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 Tallahasee 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 that information for residents. Thankfully, the Center Districts now routinely publish this information and includes it on their website (www.districtgov.org).
VIII - POA DEVELOPMENTS
Bulletin Started September 2002 Prior to the Bulletin the POA web-site consisted of a one page description of topics that hyper-linked to various articles. The Bulletin is displayed at (www.poa4us.org) each month and the Archives section displays the Bulletin back to 2002. It expanded from 4 pages in 2002 to the 24 pages we have today. The operation now has a budget of about $70,000 and advertising is covering a larger share of expenses. Huge strides in attracting advertising by hiring a paid sale person has made it cost-effective. This alone pays a significant portion of the Bulletin's expenses.
IX - CULTURAL
The POA established the POA Hall of Fame (HOF) in 2004 to honor those who have made a significant contribution to the POA over the years. To date, sixteen have been inducted into the Hall of Fame