Growth the past year in the Wildwood section of The Villages resulted in positive impact for all Sumter County residents.

The additional taxable value added to the tax roll this year motivated not only the Sumter County Commission to propose a property tax decrease this year, but also the county school board and even the Wildwood City Commission.

Each of those taxing authorities could decrease the rate even lower, if final budget figures permit, at their respective final public hearings in September.

New home and business values added this year to the tax roll contributed to the decision by County Administrator Bradley Arnold to recommend the county commission adopt a proposed 2018-19 property tax rate at the rolled-back rate, the state’s definition for what constitutes a tax cut, for the 14th consecutive year.

“The recommendation of the rolled-back millage rate to balance the fiscal year 2018-19 Sumter County budget was to hold the line one more year as we assess the impacts of November’s constitutional amendments, the commitments of development agreements and finally the confirmation of the value of growth from The Villages development in the city of Wildwood,” Arnold said.

Because of the growth, the school board also agreed in consensus to set its 2018-19 property tax rate below the rolled-back rate.

Growth also motivated the city commission to propose a tax rate at the rolled-back rate.

“The new growth in Wildwood is largely responsible for staff’s ability to present a budget to the city commission with an ad valorem tax at the rolled-back rate of 3.658 mills,” he said. “The value of the new construction, particularly in The Villages, awards the city the ability to reduce the property tax burden on our existing residents without reducing levels of service on our public facilities and services. Without this new growth, we may not have been so lucky.”

Also: District Community Watch has expanded its services because of the continuing population growth in the Village of Fenney, new residents now moving into the Village of DeSoto and home building starting in the Village of McClure. Because of the growth, this division of District Public Safety has added a new patrol zone to serve those three communities, as well as others coming online over the next year or so. Data recorded last year explains the value of this service. The division patrolled 1.13 million miles last year as part of its role to serve residents and report suspicious incidences to local law enforcement 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Also: The value of Community Watch becomes more pervasive with The Villages moving forward quickly on new projects like the Lowlands golf course, a nine-hole course on about 45 acres off of the planned Marsh Bend Trail and north of the Hogeye Water Basin between the planned Village of Marsh Bend, north of Warm Springs Avenue (formerly County Road 468) at the Bigham Trail intersection, and the planned Village De Luna, roughly east of U.S. Highway 301 and south of Florida’s Turnpike. The Villages filed permits last week to begin site work, installation of the surface stormwater system and construction of the executive golf course.

Also: The Villages Developer recently filed permits to create a haul road to store material stockpiles in the Southern Oaks region south of State Road 44 and north of the turnpike. This 24-acre roadway system will be open only to authorized construction personnel involved in projects like The Villages Grown, the planned farm-to-table, organically controlled agricultural project to the southwest of the Morse Boulevard and SR 44 intersection. The haul road extends just north of Warm Springs and follows the turnpike to a point just south of State Road 44 at Brownwood.

Also: Beginning Tuesday, traffic to and from Fenney will be rerouted onto a temporary bypass at Warm Springs and CR 501. This bypass is necessary for the Developer to build a roundabout at the west Fenney Way and Warm Springs intersection and to install a multimodal tunnel just west of Warm Springs and CR 501. Work on the roundabout and tunnel should be completed by late December and would correspond with the planned reopening of CR 501, which county officials closed earlier this year to widen it to four from two lanes.

Also: The Developer moved into a new phase of work last week at the Lofts at Brownwood, the 265 age-restricted, apartment-style living units at the southeast corner of Powell Road and County Road 44A at Brownwood. With site work well underway, the Developer filed permits for the installation of a stormwater management system. Located at the northern edge of Brownwood, this new community will feature covered parking, a pool with pavilion, a clubhouse, a dog park and a mail center. And residents will have full access to The Villages’ amenities through a monthly amenity fee, plus golf cart access to all recreational and commercial services in the community.

David R. Corder is a senior writer with The Villages Daily Sun. He can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5241, or david.corder@thevillagesmedia.com.