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Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Compromise sought on Lake Jovita’s tax bill

ST. LEO — St. Leo town commissioners began a feasibility study Monday on de-annexing about 85 residents of the Lake Jovita community who are unhappy about paying St. Leo taxes.

The residents said they pay the town’s taxes but do not get the full range of services that other St. Leo residents receive.

The services are limited because by law city workers cannot enter the gated community to provide for roads or lighting.

Jerry Morphew, a St. Leo resident who lives near Lake Jovita, presented a plan to try to reconcile the taxes and services provided so Lake Jovita residents would be willing to stay.

Morphew said Lake Jovita/St. Leo residents already enjoyed a $6,000 decrease in impact fees, and a special taxing district might reduce the inequality of services.

But Commissioner James Wells argued that impact fees did not affect the bottom line because they were already paid by the builders.

The commissioners decided to continue the feasibility study by having Mayor Pro-Tem Robert Inslee investigate whether the official boundaries of St. Leo could be changed in the state Legislature — effectively de-annexing the properties without an ordinance.

They also asked Commissioner James Hallet to investigate the possibility of creating a special taxing unit to balance the taxes with the services provided to residents.

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