Three Questions With Steve Munz - The Villages Daily Sun: Growth

Three Questions With Steve Munz

Daily Sun Senior Writer | Posted: Monday, May 29, 2017 6:00 am

Steve Munz graduated from Wildwood High School at a time when few jobs existed in the community. So, the former star football player joined the U.S. Army, gained new skills and upon discharge, returned home where he established a thriving electrical contracting company that became a preferred provider to The Villages.

What do you say to critics who worry that residential development will kill a small town’s character?

My first response to critics of development is always the same. I ask them how much they benefit from the process and also how they enjoy the amenities brought to our area. This usually quiets them. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that we drove all the way to Leesburg just to go to Wal-Mart. This development has turned our county around to become one of the best places to live in Florida.

What’s the biggest challenge The Villages’ growth poses to you as a business owner?

This biggest challenge we face as construction industry professionals is the lack of employees. The Villages Charter School has started a Construction Academy, and this will help in the long term. But for now, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out here. I have been able to offer housing as an incentive to work for me as well as a new truck program, in addition to starting an in-house program that leads to an electrical contracting license.

What’s the benefit of this growth to the community?

The benefit to the growth here is the increase in the tax base and how our area has become more aesthetically pleasing. Everyone is adapting to The Villages model. Homeowners in our age-restricted communities, paying school tax without causing a burden to our school system, is heaven sent. Do the math — when all your county budgets continue to grow annually but your tax base rolls back year after year, it’s not magic. It’s development. This development also has been quite a role model. They have taught communities how to open their doors and become more inviting to visitors. Just look at The Villages roadways — they’re manicured and present a bright persona. This is just one way our entire community benefits.