Monday, November 20, 2017
Editorials

Lake Jovita residents should know all facts

RECOMMENDED READING


Some people in and around the tiny town of St. Leo are renewing the debate of whether the incorporated community should be even tinier. Residents within the high-end community of the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club are questioning the value of the services they receive compared to the taxes paid to the town. The financial questions are a precursor to asking the town to separate all of Lake Jovita from the municipal government. Currently, 118 lots in the nearly 900-home subdivision are within the town's boundaries.

It is a familiar scenario having been decided at the polls six years ago. Then, a trio of Lake Jovita candidates lost their bids for Town Commission after running on a platform promising to separate the country club neighborhood from the town and then resigning their seats.

Certainly, this is an issue worthy of a vigorous public debate in a town that's wealthier and younger than the rest of the county because of two entities — Saint Leo University and Lake Jovita. The town's 1,340 residents include the students on campus, pushing the median age to less than 21. The portion of tony Lake Jovita within the municipal boundaries accounts for the town's median household income of $111,000 — 150 percent higher than the countywide figure of $44,000.

Deannexation advocates point to the town property tax rate of 1.15 mils, plus the taxes on monthly electricity and communications bills that county residents don't pay. In exchange, they receive trash pickup service and enhanced police protection that's now being questioned because Lake Jovita security guards counted just four deputy visits each week over an eight-week period.

But, the debate must account for the financial perks afforded the town's residents. For starters, Lake Jovita residents who built homes within the town escaped thousands of dollars of impact fees charged by Pasco County for transportation, parks and libraries. Likewise, town residents don't pay the annual $47-per-house stormwater management fee charged to county property owners. Most curiously, this debate is being renewed as the town's tax rate continues a descent of more than 40 percent from six years ago.

Ronnie Deese, president of the Lake Jovita Homeowners' Association, labels the town as an unnecessary layer of government. Perhaps more accurately, it is a level of local government that people knew existed when they bought their property within the gated community.

Taxation without representation is a tough argument to make if individual due diligence is lacking.

Comments

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17