By TomL

In The Early Days…

I have been reading accounts that Harold Swartz Dream is being changed. All these people talking about Swartz and Morris dream being changed. I met Harold Swartz in the first year he started the Orange Blossom Gardens. That was the Villages first name. In Dunnellon Florida it was Lake Tropicana and Rainbow Lakes Estates. I printed Villages first newspaper in Inverness Florida, Orange Blossom Gardens. I actually recommended an Editor-in-Chief to Harold Swartz that was more than qualified. She lasted about three months. She thought she was going to run a newspaper. Not true.

At that time I met Harold Swartz. Swartz Junior, yes I said Swartz junior and Morris. Swartz Junior was a millionaire playboy. He was not born to make the Villages grow. He wanted to play. They put him in charge of the Golf Courses before they were a big business.

Harold Swartz’ original dream was that he wanted his own city, his own bank, his own grocery stores, and all of his own retail stores. He wanted golf cart access to his whole city. He could not achieve all at once but he came pretty close at the end. The whole idea was to give people of all levels of wealth a millionaire life style.

At first he had prefab homes built on the foundation. A little different than mobile homes. He did a hostile takeover of the prefab home builder then when he jumped across road 441 to the west, he wanted to do block homes. He did finally achieve that. He bought pasture land from farmers, subdivided it into lots, built roads, built retention ponds and sold lots. They started the Community Develop district so they could float a bond to raise money to build. The Community Development District could only be a certain size to avoid regulation by the state of Florida. They would later be asked by Jeb Bush to help write the states regulations for description of a Community Development District.

Fast forward… the development grew at a very fast pace making millionaires of the Swartz’s, the sub-contractor and many people involved. But there were a lot of unhappy people along the way. I was their voice…

Now Swartz senior and Morris are gone and a new thought process is coming to pass. More money needs more money and the residents are NOT quietly sitting down for it.

The one fiasco in Brownwood was VIP seating, charging residents $50 per seat for residents  to see the Christmas Tree lighting. Did not go over well. Sumter County has awarded the Villages $120,000 in tax money to help pay for the entertainment, but does not include Spanish Springs.

Say It is Not So!

The fee caps have been removed!

The Sumter County Commission has agreed on a 25% tax increase.

The Villages have got their eye on going to Bushnell, another town that will disappear.

While they are going south and west they are purchasing the Central Florida Utility Company for just shy of a cool 100 million which will eventually be paid for with tax money.

They have approved permanent Food Truck to the new area of thinner development. The buyer says “sure I’ll pay $400,000 for that home. It has a food truck next door. How convenient!”

Building homes just south of the Coleman Prison is not a problem.

Recycle fees appear to be on the verge of going up.  

tloury@att.net tell me about it.

Say it is not so!

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