CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. - Tonight, the fight over a very large property tax payment just got uglier. Duke Energy, formerly known as Progress Energy, is now suing the Citrus County Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and executives from Florida's Department of Revenue.
Duke Energy had only paid $19,000,000 of a $36,000,000 tax payment to the Citrus County. The company says it does not agree with the Crystal River Energy Complex's property value, saying it's overstated.
Today, Citrus County Commissioners held an emergency meeting to hear input from the community. Commissioner JJ Kenney was in attendance. Kenney said, "Personally, I think we should take them behind the woodshed and knock the.. out of them."
Several Citrus County residents let their voices be heard. One woman said, "I think it's a shell game going on and I don't think it passes the smell test here in Citrus County." Another man said, "They're holding Citrus County hostage."
Bud Osborn has been a Citrus County taxpayer for twelve years. He says Duke should do the same. Osborn said, "They've got an obligation to pay taxes. You pay taxes. I pay taxes. They need to pay theirs."
Commissioners will review a plan to fix the financial setback. It includes using $6,000,000 from other services. That means no new jobs, county vehicles, cuts to the library system and road and bridge repairs.
Citrus County's School District stands to lose $8,000,000. At Friday's meeting, members said they would be able to make it through this school year with no cuts from services or jobs. But, they say the coming years are a different story.
Citrus County Commissioners and school district officials will meet on December 10th to discuss the budget crisis.