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Date of Issue: February 22, 2007

Bennett to hold meeting on taxes

Islanders stung by the recent surge of hefty increases in their property taxes will want to mark Tuesday, Feb. 27, on their calendar.

That’s the day state Sen. Mike Bennett will hold a town hall meeting on property tax reform at the Manatee County Commission Chambers from 2 to 4 p.m.

Bennett said the meeting will be to discuss all aspects of property tax reform in Florida. Bennett will take the input received at the meeting with him when he discusses the taxation issue with the special legislative committee on taxation recently formed by Gov. Charlie Crist.

Other members of the Manatee-Sarasota legislative delegation, including state Rep. Bill Galvano, have been invited to attend, as has state Sen. Mike Haridopolos, the chairman of the Senate’s finance and tax committee. Manatee County Commissioner Jane von Hahmann, who represents the Island and Cortez, along with at-large Commissioner Carol Whitmore, also plan to attend.

Don Schroder of the grassroots Citizens Against Runaway Taxation organization based on the Island said he and other CART representatives plan to attend in force.

"We’ll also be meeting with the delegation at a luncheon earlier that day to discuss the taxation issue as it affects the Island and we hope to meet individually with legislators, in addition to the town hall meeting," Schroder said.

CART is also looking to meet with the governor’s committee to present its views and research on taxation as it affects Florida barrier islands and Anna Maria Island in particular, he added.

The Feb. 27 meeting is open to the public. The commission chambers are located in the county building at 1112 Manatee Ave W. in Bradenton on the ground floor.