Manatee votes for special districts

nwilliams@bradenton.comNovember 7, 2012 

MANATEE -- Manatee residents voted for supervisors in community development districts across Manatee County on Tuesday.

In Lakewood Ranch's largest district, which serves the Country Club South neighborhoods, Tom Leavy, a two-term district supervisor, narrowly beat out challenger Ned Richardson by taking 54.14 percent. Richardson tallied 45.85 percent.

Leavy, 77, has served the CDD for six years. Leavy, who has lived in Lakewood Ranch since 2005, was appointed to the board by the developer in 2006 and was elected in 2008. Leavy also serves on the Siena neighborhood committee and is a former vice president of the U.S. Postal Service.

Also in Lakewood Ranch, in District 2, which serves the Country Club and Edgewater neighborhoods, resident Mike Finney won by majority vote against Jerry Twiggs for the district seat being vacated by longtime supervisor and District 2 chairman Bob Stepleman.

Finney, a small business owner who provides solutions for companies that use chemicals and natural materials by connecting them with manufacturers, won 76.01 percent while Twiggs finished with 23.98 percent.

Community districts are special local governments created by home developers and later switched to resident control once the district reaches a certain number of registered voters as residents. Board supervisors are entitled to a $200-per-meeting reimbursement at a maximum of $4,800 a year.

District 1 and District 6 Lakewood Ranch supervisors will appoint residents to vacant seats on their respective boards. The seat in District 1, which serves Summerfield and Riverwalk, was vacated by Gary Berns last week. Two developer-controlled seats will be turned over to residents in District 6, which serves Country Club West.

In other development district races around the county, John DiPalma was elected in Greyhawk Landing, Richard Lane and Michelle Patterson were elected in Heritage Harbour, Mark Kalish and Christopher Hogan in Waterlefe and Michael Dyer in Tara.

Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams

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