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To: Spring Lake Residents

From: Kay Gorham, Board of Supervisors Chairperson

The Sebring Airport Authority continues to resist providing any kind of financial support to Spring Lake Improvement District for the operation and maintenance of the stormwater system.  All Spring Lake property owners pay for these costs annually in their non ad-valorem assessment.  The Airport continues to send their stormwater into our system but expects our taxpayers to absorb the cost for treating all the water coming into the District.  

After over a decade of discussions with unkept promises by the Airport Authority, the Board decided to use its statutory powers and assess the Airport Authority for the almost 700 acres of land that drain into our system.  When the assessment appeared on their tax bill, plans for litigation were put into place.  Along with their local attorney, an out-of-town legal firm was hired to assist them in avoiding any payment to Spring Lake Improvement District. 

In spite of the airport being a $7,000,000.00 corporation with nearly $3,000,000.00 in rents and leases, they are refusing to take a fair and moral approach and work with their neighbors. It seems expansion is their main objective and financially assisting with the processing of their stormwater is not in their current or future plans.  I think you will agree that this is inequitable at best. 

The full lawsuit is available for review on our website at   The header is titled Airport Lawsuit and is located to the right of the Home header.  Please take the time to read why the Airport feels the District is not entitled to any compensation for treating their stormwater. 

I am urging all our residents and landowners to support the District and help us fight this inequity.   You can support the District by using all media platforms available here in Highlands County to spread the word and voice your displeasure at this lawsuit.  Media outlets include, but are not limited to, FACEBOOK, Nextdoor, X (Twitter), local radio stations, and the Highlands News-Sun.  Letters to the editor can be sent to   One local resident, Ed Engler, has already written an excellent letter to the editor supporting our position. 

Other avenues for voicing your opinion are through County Commissioner Don Elwell, who is also a Spring Lake resident and has his own FACEBOOK page.  You may also attend monthly meetings of any of the governing bodies and voice your opinion.  Those meetings are as follows: 

  • Spring Lake Improvement District – 10:00 AM the 2nd Wednesday of each month 
  • Spring Lake Property Association – 6:30 PM the 2nd Monday of each month 
  • Sebring Airport Authority - 1:30 PM 3rd Thursday of each month 

Should you wish to contact the Airport Authority directly, you may do so through their registered agent, Mike Willingham, who is also their Executive Director.  His email address is   You will also find the names of all their board members on that web site but, unfortunately, no contact information is provided.  

Of course you may always contact me directly with any comments or concerns at

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I sincerely hope you will follow through and help our District.  Unless our residents and landowners raise their voices and get involved, we will continue to underwrite costs that should be borne by the Airport. 

Thank you, and HAPPY EASTER to all our residents, landowners, and friends

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