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      Public angry over millage increase

      The Dougherty County Commission held a public meeting about the millage increase in the Special Services District.

      Several people in the community spoke to the commission expressing their disapproval of the increase including business owner Chuck Knight. Knight says he has lowered his own salary to offset the need for any layoffs and sympathizes with other business owners.

      Some commissioners saying the millage rate increase was their only option. The Special Services District fund, a separate budget than the rest of Dougherty County's budget, is mostly comprised of police and fire services. Commissioner Jack Stone says his constituents didn't want public safety cuts, so he says the two mil increase was the only way to go to offset a $1 million shortfall in that budget.

      Commissioner John Hayes says the commission's approach to the whole budget process must be changed so as to avoid similar problems next fiscal year.

      The next public forum on the millage rate increase will be Monday, July 15 at 10:00 a.m. at the Government Center at 222 Pine Avenue.