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Crystal River budget, charter changes advance

The City Council on Monday gave initial approval to both its fiscal year 2000-01 budget and charter amendments. If approved after a second reading, the amendments will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. The budget's proposed tax rate would rise to 6 mills, almost a 9 percent increase over the current year. That rate amounts to $6 in tax for every $1,000 in appraised taxable property value. That works out to a city tax bill of $210 for a house appraised at $60,000 with the $25,000 homestead exemption. Last year's city tax for that same house would have been $193.50. On the proposed charter changes, several audience members questioned the proposal to increase council member and mayoral terms from two to four years. Second readings on the budget and charter changes will be held Sept. 25.

City officials delay

settling billing dispute

CRYSTAL RIVER _ The City Council on Monday delayed settling a billing dispute with Jim Dicks, former owner of Port Paradise Resort. Dicks had reportedly owed the city $36,155 in water and sewer fees, plus interest and penalties. City officials have met with Dicks to work out payment of the fees, which were partially run up by leaks in the city's water system and reflected in the resort's water and sewer bills. City staff members had suggested a reduction in interest and penalties and a $9,000 adjustment, but City Council members questioned the fairness of those reductions.

Clarification

The Times Publishing Co. alleged in its lawsuit against Citrus County that the County Commission's vote on Nov. 16, 1999, to award the legal notices publishing contract to the Citrus County Chronicle was "a mere perfunctory ratification of the earlier, secret decision of the Assistant County Administrator," Richard Wesch. However, Wesch said he never recommended that the commission choose one newspaper over the other.

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