Thursday, April 19, 2018
News Roundup

St. Leo election could determine town's future

ST. LEO — Incumbent Town Commissioner Sister Donna DeWitt believes the fate of St. Leo is very much on the line as she vies to keep her commission seat.

The election is April 8.

A sister at Holy Name Monastery, DeWitt, 70, faces a challenge from Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club resident Ray Davis, 77, a retired businessman who is running in order to bring more representation for his neighborhood.

That could have a major impact as turmoil continues over efforts by some Lake Jovita residents to de-annex from the city. Most of the homes in the gated community are in unincorporated Pasco County, leading St. Leo residents in Lake Jovita to complain over being double charged by the town on taxes.

Last year, the de-annexation effort gathered steam as two Lake Jovita residents, James Wells and Robert Inslee, won seats on the commission.

"I think we should have another voice," Davis said of his bid.

Meanwhile, a bill is working through the Florida legislature filed on behalf of the town that would allow Lake Jovita to de-annex. But with that still in limbo, Davis said he feels the need to continue his campaign.

DeWitt said she is upset that the town's money is being wasted by a Lake Jovita resident who is likely to be part of a de-annexation that she too supports. Her biggest fear is for the de-annexation efforts to fail and have Lake Jovita residents move forward with a threatened dissolution petition that could end the city entirely.

"I hope the bill passes. If they don't like it here, fine. We can live without you. But I don't want to see them take away the whole town," DeWitt said. "I personally believe they don't care what happens to the town. I'm running for all of the people in the town."

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