ST LEO — St. Leo town commissioners voted Monday to begin a feasibility study on allowing about 85 members of the Lake Jovita community to be deannexed from the city.
The Lake Jovita subdivision on State Road 52 has about 650 homes. About 85 lie within the St. Leo town limits and pay taxes for limited services.
The Lake Jovita residents in St. Leo say that they pay the same taxes but do not get the full range of services the rest of St. Leo’s residents receive.
The limited services include garbage pickup and a Pasco County sheriff’s deputy who divides his time between San Antonio and St. Leo.
The issue of deannexation has been discussed since 2006.
Town Attorney Patricia Petruff said the commission must undertake a feasibility study as part of the procedures for deannexation.
The commission voted unanimously to push ahead with the feasibility study.
The study is set to begin Sept. 23. It will include the topics of tax losses to the town, changes to land use plans boundary changes, and special elections due to loss of commissioners.
Three commissioners will no longer be residents if deannexation occurs.
If the commission allows it, then deannexation can take place. If not, then the issue has to go to a referendum vote among the affected voters. A simple majority would be required to allow deannexation.
Jerry Morphew, a St Leo resident who lives near Lake Jovita, presented a plan to try to reconcile taxes and services provided to Lake Jovita residents so deannexation might be avoided.
He also said a Municipal Service Taxing Unit might help.
An MSTU is a special taxing district to make improvements to a neighborhood or community.
The commission asked Morphew to stop his presentation because he had not provided handouts for commissioners.
No action was taken on Morphew’s presentation.