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Tim Howard
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A PORTION OF THE CHARLOTTE COUNTY MILLAGE RATE WILL GO UP BY 7% NEXT YEAR, BUT MOST COUNTY RESIDENTS WILL STILL SEE A DROP IN THE TAXES THEY PAY.  COMMISSIONERS VOTED 3-2 TO TAKE THE MILLAGE RATE TO 6.0892, UP FROM 5.7096.  THE INCREASE IS NEEDED TO COVER A NEARLY $22 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET SHORTFALL FOR 2011/12, NEARLY $9 MILLION DOLLARS OF WHICH FALLS ON THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE.  SHERIFF BILL CAMERON ACTUALLY PRESENTED A FLAT BUDGET OF $57 MILLION DOLLARS FOR NEXT YEAR, BUT WITH THE DECREASE IN PROPERTY VALUES OF 14%, REVENUES WOULD BE DOWN.  COMMISSIONERS ROBERT SKIDMORE AND DICK LOFTUS BOTH VOTED AGAINST THE MILLAGE INCREASE, SAYING NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO RAISE TAXES.  THE TOTAL BUDGET PROPOSED AT THE BUDGET WORKSHOP ON THURSDAY WAS $747 MILLION DOLLARS, DOWN ABOUT $42 MILLION DOLLARS FROM THIS YEAR.  TWO PUBLIC HEARINGS WILL BE HELD IN SEPTEMBER IN WHICH THE MILLAGE RATE COULD BE DROPPED BUT NOT RAISED.