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Power outage affects 3,400 customers

Electrical service was interrupted briefly Thursday morning for about 3,400 customers in St. Petersburg. A distribution line at Fifth Street and 28th Avenue N was the source of the 35-minute outage. Florida Power spokesman Will Rodgers said service was restored to 90 percent of its customers just after 9 a.m. The exact cause of the breakdown was unknown.

Mayor's budget would

cut property taxes

ST. PETERSBURG __ Cutting St. Petersburg's property tax rate means either one less ladder truck for the Fire Department or making some other hard choices, Mayor David Fischer told City Council members Thursday. And he proposed to do just that. Fischer presented his 1996

budget proposal to the City Council, paving the way for it to set a tentative tax rate next week. Fischer's proposal calls for a slight reduction in the tax rate, down to $7.75 for every $1,000 of assessed, taxable property. The current rate is $7.98 for every $1,000. The most controversial element of the budget plan involves saving about $500,000 by getting rid of one of the Fire Department's four ladder trucks. Council members have not agreed to that yet, and several of them groaned about it Thursday. Still, Fischer stuck with that recommendation, noting that city staffers came up with the ideas for how to find the savings he wanted.