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Commissioners up sales tax projections by $3M

County commissioners added $3 million to sales tax projections during the straw vote process for the fiscal 2012 budget Wednesday night.

In the straw vote process, commissioners vote on budget line items, but the votes are nonbinding. The results can be ignored or commissioners could change their minds when they officially vote on the budget Tuesday.

At the outset of the meeting, Hyong Yi, the county’s budget director, warned commissioners that some of their plans, like making changes to health insurance for retirees, might not be feasible or legal.

In one of the few successful votes of the night, Commissioner Jim Pendergraph moved to add $3 million to sales tax projections.

Commissioner Dumont Clarke clarified that it would be a 2.5 percent increase over the current projection of $117 million. Yi cautioned the board that putting more reliance on sales tax projections puts the county at more risk should sales tax revenue not meet expectations.

Six commissioners approved the plan of increasing sales tax revenue, with Clark, Vilma Leake and Harold Cogdell abstaining.

Commissioners will continue the straw vote process at another workshop scheduled for tonight.

Scott Baughman can be reached at scott.baughman@mecktimes.com.

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