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Lee residents fired up over new fee

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May 20, 2008      

Lee County-  People in Lee County are fired up over a proposal to charge more than 10,000 Lee County home and business owners a new Fire/EMS fee.

Commissioner brought up the ordinance during a budget meeting Monday night. Commissioners say they have to enact the $250.00 fee, raise taxes, or cut services.

Jack Fore knows a thing or two about business. He's owned Leesburg Auto Parts for 61 years. He also owns a home in Lee County and already knows he doesn't like commissioners proposal for a fire protection and medical emergency service fee for county residents.

"I think it's stupid," said Jack Fore.

Right now, Lee County's proposed budget is $1.2 million short. Commissioner Ed Duffy said the board is facing three options, raise taxes, create a Fire/EMS fee, or cut services. That's left Jack Fore with one question. "What are we getting for our tax now?"

The county has full time fire and EMS protection, and because of that homeowners get lower insurance rates, but that would go up if services were cut to meet the budget.

"I really believe we do need those services, they're really important, but before our taxes get raised I want to know a lot about it," said Beth Cannon, of Lee County.

"I think they ought to really sit down and think about what the people are faced with and look at their own budget and cut it. If it's not absolutely necessary at this time let's cut it," said Gary Wyatt, of Lee County.

Tuesday department heads met to determine what can be cut from the proposed $21 million budget that's faced with $540,000 in increased fuel and insurance costs and $687,000  for fire and emergency additions.

Jack Fore's not waiting to find out, instead he's calling friends. "I'm going to call a lot of them," said Fore.

Encouraging them to be at the county's next budget meeting Thursday to let commissioners know what they would like to see done.

Lee County Commissioners will meet again Thursday at 9:00 a.m. in the Assembly Room of the County Administration Building for another Budget Work Session.

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