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Refunds promised to ticket buyers

In the heady days of baseball dreaming inspired by the Cleveland Indians' interest in Citrus County, almost 2,100 season tickets for spring training games were reserved at a cost of $25 each. Now, in the aftermath of those dreams being dashed, the organizers of the ticket drive must return more than $50,000.

On Monday, the first business day since the team announced it wants to negotiate a deal with Homestead instead, several people who had reserved tickets already had picked up the phone to try to get their refunds, said Alex Griffin.

Griffin, the former county commissioner who has led the drive to attract a Major League club, said the Committee of 100's baseball task force met Monday morning to work out the details for refunding the money.

People holding ticket reservations will not have to do anything to get their money back, he said.

"It is automatic," Griffin said.

The task probably will be handled by computer, he said, but declined to estimate how long it would take. "It will be a lot of check writing."

Despite the setback, Griffin said he will continue to contact teams to try to interest them in Citrus County.

"They need to know we're a viable option," he said.

In a related matter, the county's economic development director said there would be no immediate change in the allocation for tourist projects financed by the tourist tax.

The proposed budget had been prepared with the assumption that the lion's share of a 4 percent tourist tax would be spent on stadium construction.

Now, the tourist tax, which is levied on short term accommodations such as hotel rooms, will remain at 2 percent.

But because none of the tax will go to a stadium, more dollars will be available for other tourist promotion efforts.

Taylor said in November, the Tourist Development Committee may consider giving more money to projects already approved or consider new requests for funds.

The fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

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