We experienced a year like no other in 2020. Now, in 2021, residents will make decisions concerning a number of issues. One key decision will be whether to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, or not. That decision will likely determine how comfortable you are being out and about with friends, or participating in activities with those you do not know.

The VHA has been cautious about inviting residents to come to meetings or gatherings, with no events being held for the past eight months.  Finally, we feel we can safely hold events again.

  • Golf Cart Safety clinic is being held face-to-face the third Wednesday of each month. A video showing the ins-and-outs of golf cart care and safe driving practices is presented and discussion led by our qualified golf cart safety instructors.
  • Our Helping Hands program loans durable medical equipment to residents free of charge. Volunteers have been assisting residents for the last few months.
  • The Community Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The VHA. Selected groups in The Villages who care for the needs of residents receive the foundation’s financial support. The Foundation, despite being slowed down by the pandemic, is still looking for groups to support.
  • New Resident Night will be back up and running beginning in April. Held the second Tuesday of each month, both new and established residents benefit from this opportunity to obtain information from county administrators, law enforcement, and lifestyle clubs, and volunteer groups, to name a few.

Dates and details for these regular offerings are highlighted each month in THE Voice’s program guide.  See Page 9 and 12 for more details.
New and fun VHA-sponsored events are scheduled for this month.  How does a POKER RUN on March 16 and a month-long GOLF SCRAMBLE sound?  These great outdoor events give all Villagers a chance to meet people and have FUN in a safe environment.

As the President of The VHA, I want to bring to your attention two issues that require the attention and education of The Villages and Sumter County residents:

  1. The County Issue of Increased Impact Fees. The newly-elected County Commissioners have proposed an increase of up to 150%. Residents should be asking WHY the increase. We read in The Daily Sun of contractors expressing concern about how new construction will be slowed or halted altogether as a result. I have heard rumors that those articles are the Developer’s propaganda. Ask yourself:  Are not these contractors and business entrepreneurs the ones we hire to build what will be our shopping facilities, restaurants and medical facilities?

Companies desire to go where there is growth and opportunity to thrive.   Impeding them through high impact fees will, in turn, slow down the construction of the retail and medical options residents want, and need.

I have heard that the Developer should be paying more. Let’s forget the Developer. Will this cause Villagers to be deprived of a new hospital and the proposed Medical Training and Research Center?  The increased fee will be a pass-on cost for most builders, and will certainly hurt small business expansion and local family housing. Sumter County needs to be in line with other area counties, which I think the commissioners will be looking at.  Residents, please continue to watch this issue for it may impact your lifestyle and property values.

  1. District 7 CDD Supervisors are working to divorce their district from Project Wide (PWAC). Our front-page article shares vital information about this issue. Residents of District 7, please attend meetings and ask questions. Why is the change being done? Will I, as a District 7 resident, be paying more services by being a stand-alone District compared to having shared costs with other Districts in the Villages?  The thing to do, is get involved, educate yourself, and understand the financial implications.

The Hospital Gala event shown virtually on February 13 was a rousing success. Everyone at the house parties, bidders on auction items and the wonderful volunteers enjoyed this virtual event. The Fundraiser benefitted the creation of an Emergency Fund that will be used for hospital equipment during any pandemic. The VHA and The VHA Community Foundation were proud supporters of this charitable event.

Phil Walker President,