Some Villages residents not happy taxes paying for nightly entertainment



SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. - Channel 9 has learned the popular nightly entertainment in The Villages is subsidized with tax money.

Sumter County contributes tens of thousands of dollars every year toward providing live musical acts, but some local residents aren't happy their taxes are paying for it.

Lake Sumter Landing is a popular shopping and dining district in The Villages. There is nightly entertainment there and at Brownwood Paddock Square, but not all residents knew their taxes were paying for the entertainment.

The county puts up $60,000 a year in tourist taxes collected primarily off hotel stays.

"The developer pays the other half," said county administrator Brad Arnold.

Arnold said it's a solid investment when you consider nearly 900,000 people attended the events last year. But it still doesn't sit well with those who talked with Channel 9.

"Would I protest and do anything about it? Probably not," said resident M.J. Eddy-Smith.

"I try not to get into the politics down here," said resident Dorothy Gibson. "I just try to enjoy the lifestyle. If you get into the politics, you're not going to be smiling all the time. And I just want to smile all the time."

The county made a three-year commitment at $60,000 a year. The commitment ends in 2014 but officials plan to extend the commitment for another three years to keep the music playing.