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ORLANDO-A Lake County Circuit Court judge will decide today whether the developer-influenced Village Center Community Development District can add $220 million to the Villages $150 million debt load by buying the wastewater and water facilities of Little Sumter Utilities, and other recreational locations from Villages developer Gary Morse.

The utilities purchase would come to $100 million; the recreational amenities, $120 million. Another $180 million bond issue, approved this summer, would bring the total debt load to $550 million.

The 30,000-resident population, adjacent to Lady Lake, FL and spread over three counties, will pay off the debt through assessments, recreational amenity fees, utility payments and other charges.

After its planned expansion, the 7,000-acre Villages will comprise 43,000 new homes, four million sf of retail, 2,000 acres of golf courses and two town centers spread over Lake, Sumter and Marion counties.

The scope of the project, covering three counties, is unprecedented in Florida mixed-use development annals, brokers and consultants intimate with the Villages’ growth for years tell GlobeSt.com.

“It’s a little government of its own within a larger government enclave and it keeps growing and growing and growing,” a Leesburg, FL broker who has watched the community’s progress for 20 years tells GlobeSt.com.

The Community Development District will argue in court it needs to control utilities and recreational locations for maximum future development of the 7,000-acre community that had only 400 residences in 1982. The Villages has 15,000 homes today with a projected population of 60,000 by 2020.

This isn’t the first time the Community Development District has bought utilities from Morse. The CDD made a similar purchase in 1993. The Villages has seven district that can issue tax-free government bonds comparable to bonds sold by cities and counties on Wall Street for public projects.

A Sumter County judge already has approved another $180 million in bonds for the construction of roads, street lights, landscaping and other infrastructure planned for a new sector of the Villages, south of County Road 466.

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