Fire district planned for The Villages in Sumter could lead to a steep tax increase for the rest of the county
A proposal for a separate fire district for The Villages in Sumter County could bring a steep property tax increase for the other county homeowners outside the vast retirement community.
Sumter County commissioners will decide on Nov. 28 whether to create a dependent fire district for The Villages with the power to recommend additional property taxes. Those would be capped at 0.75 mills.
On Tuesday night, commissioners chose five board members for proposed district. About a year ago, voters in The Villages in Sumter County rejected an independent fire district that could impose taxes and fees and fees without county approval.
The county has laid out possible funding, including existing property taxes, fees, a per-parcel assessment of $125, and new municipal service taxing units -- or MSTU's -- for the Villages and Sumter districts.
The Villages also has its own, separate safety fee supporting its fire department.
In the example of possible funding, the proposed Sumter MSTU comes with a 58% increase in the property tax rate, adding $450 a year to the taxes for a homestead valued at $200,000.
"And that's part of the budgetary process that we'll be presenting in regard to the creation of the municipal service taxing unit," said County Administrator Bradley Arnold, "because all of this was focused on being effective October 1 of 2024."
Arnold said the proposed dependent district it's a compromise that allows different types of service in The Villages and rest of Sumter County.
"Having that differential service and differential funding," he said during the meeting, "should help resolve any of those issues where there have been attacks related to how much funding is being, if you will, subsidized by Village residents for Sumter Fire. I will tell you it's a lot."
The board members chosen Tuesday night were:
They would serve initial terms of one or three years before their seat comes up for a vote within the district.