Tax dispute between Progress Energy and Citrus County deemed an 'emergency' by county officials

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. - Citrus County officials are up in arms after one of its biggest taxpayers paid only $19 million of the $35 million the countys says Progress Energy Florida owes.  The school board will convene an emergency meeting later this week.

For its part, Progress Energy feels the valuation of its properties in Citrus County is overstated and wants the court system to decide.

"Our company has one view, while the property appraiser has another,"  said Progress Energy spokesman Rob Sumner in a written statement to ABC Action news. "We have worked to resolve our differences without success to date. After more than two years trying to resolve the issue amicably, Progress Energy Florida is filing a complaint regarding the overstated tax value - as is every taxpayer's right."  

Citrus County Sherrif Jeff Dawsy has also fired off an emergency flare.

"Duke Energy's decision to suddenly reduce its tax payment will directly impact the safety of Citrus County's citizens," said Dawsy in a release.  "At the news conference, I'll explain how Duke's actions will endanger our seniors, our precious children, our businesses - the entire community."

Sheriff Dawsy will hold a news conference on the matter on Thursday.

Citrus County School Board Chairwoman Virginia Bryant says the shortfall means about $8 million less for the district.

"We are naturally very concerned about the impact this will have on our students and teachers and staff," said Bryant in a written statement. " We have scheduled an emergency meeting so that we can gain a better understanding of the potential consequences of this action and the alternatives available to us."

The school board's emergency meeting is set for 2 p.m. on Friday.

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