On October 22, Governor Charlie Crist approved the Lake~Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) request for redesignation to include all of Sumter County and its five municipalities. In his approval letter to MPO's Chair, the Honorable Sanna Henderson, Governor Crist commended the MPO for its efforts to effectively engage both counties before the redesignation was requested and also for recognizing that traffic congestion does not stop at the county line.
The Lake-Sumter MPO first convened Feb. 25, 2004, after the 2000 U.S. Census confirmed the urbanized area of Eustis-Leesburg exceeded the 50,000 in population required to qualify for an MPO. The Census also revealed a new urbanized area that consisted of the Town of Lady Lake and The Villages, a large and extremely successful retirement development that extended from northwest Lake County to Sumter and Marion Counties. So the MPO that was created included all of Lake County and The Villages in Sumter County,. The original Membership Apportionment Plan approved by Governor Jeb Bush consisted of 13 voting representatives from Lake County and its municipalities and 1 voting representative from Sumter County.
The region continued to grow at an unprecedented rate. Urbanization occurred in northern Sumter County, vastly expanding what was once a small urban area. The City of Wildwood planned major developments that would significantly impact transportation facilities in the region. In 2005 the MPO began providing transportation planning services to all of Sumter County and its local governments. The municipalities of Bushnell, Coleman, Center Hill, Webster and Wildwood began to take a greater interest in the MPO process and were each afforded an Ex-Officio (non-voting) position on the MPO Board.
In December 2008, after receiving positive indications from the Sumter County local governments that they desired to be a formal part of the Lake~Sumter MPO, the Governing Board authorized the Executive Director to initiate the process of redesignation by creating a Reapportionment Plan to submit for the Governor’s approval.
The Reapportionment Plan revised the MPOs voting structure by giving Sumter County an additional vote and changing the membership status of the Sumter County municipalities from non-voting Ex-Officio members to At-Large Representative Board members with vote that rotate among them each year in alphabetical order. Now that Governor Crist has approved the MPOs redesignation, the membership officially includes all of Lake and Sumter Counties and the municipalities in each County for a total of 29 member governments and 16 voting positions.
The MPO Governing Board is scheduled to approve the necessary changes to the MPO bylaws at the Wednesday, December 8th at 2:00 PM meeting held at the MPO Offices located at 1616 South 14th Street (US 27), Leesburg, FL 34748.