The Villages Voice - December 2019

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Utilities - A Mystery No More

by Richard Baier

Utilities – A Mystery No More

by Richard Baier, P.E., LEED AP

District Manager

  North Sumter County Utility Dependent District (NSCUDD) has been busy providing direction in the development of a Solid Waste Management Plan.  In addition, the NSCUDD Board has approved the purchase of Central Sumter Utility (CSU).  The purchase of CSU by NSCUDD continues NSCUDD’s purpose of operating utility systems for residents within their service area. NSCUDD was formed pursuant to the enactment of Ordinance 2010-10 as approved by the Sumter County Board of County Commissioners on July 12, 2010, effective July 15, 2010, as amended.   Furthermore, NSCUDD is a dependent special district of Sumter County and a local unit of special- purpose government of the State of Florida created pursuant to Chapter 189 of the Florida Statutes. The statute requires that the ordinance establishing a dependent special district must specify, among other matters, the purpose, powers, functions, and duties of the district, its geographic boundaries, the authority of the district and why the district is the best alternative.  Pursuant to the statute, Counties, and Municipalities within the jurisdiction over effected areas establish, by ordinance, dependent special districts.  This summarizes the creation of NSCUDD by Sumter County as it is in the best interest of all involved, to include residents, that NSCUDD is created to manage and operate utilities within the jurisdictional boundaries. The NSCUDD Board, as created, has many oversight functions for the residents they serve, mainly policy and budget.  Within this role, the Board authorizes appropriations to support the utilities they oversee while maintaining adequate reserves all within the rates that the Board sets.  Setting rates by a local board has many advantages, none the least is local Board setting the rates for their residents they serve. There is no profit motive, only ensuring that the very public they serve receives the very best service from its utility.  Currently, NSCUDD has been very successful in serving its residents with North Sumter Utilities and Sumter Sanitation.  All decisions on operations, rates, budgets are conducted in an open, transparent, properly noticed board meeting.  This is one big advantage that residents have as opposed to a private utility; local decision making.  Unlike a private company that makes decisions based on different parameters other than what the customer may know, all decisions by NSCUDD are made in the Sunshine with all residents welcome to speak and comment about all matters to be considered by the Board.  Now, NSCUDD has the opportunity to continue to serve the residents with the purchase of CSU.  This is not only a great public opportunity but one that the residents should embrace, as their interest is the main factor why NSCUDD is here today, so the resident needs can be served.  In this case, the CSU Utility includes a water facility and waste-water facility that serves the public in a very open, transparent way.  First and foremost, the governance of the utility is included in this consideration and, as such, is a local government board operating for the public welfare of the residents and maintaining that consideration into perpetuity. Lastly, the NSCUDD Board welcomes all residents they serve to attend their meetings to see open, transparent government at work.  After all, it is you the resident, they serve.