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St. Lawrence County public hearing on 2 percent tax cap could attract many

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CANTON — St. Lawrence County is preparing for a large turnout for its public hearing at 5 p.m. today on whether to override the state’s 2 percent property tax cap.

Officials are not sure how many people to expect, but the county Chamber of Commerce sent out postcards urging its members to come. Agencies that are not directly part of county government but receive funding from it will be represented. Residents who feel strongly about certain county services or who want the county to stay within the tax cap also could attend.

County Administrator Karen M. St. Hilaire will make a PowerPoint presentation on what a budget for 2012 would look like if it fell within the 2 percent tax cap. Even with a number of recommended cuts, Ms. St. Hilaire has projected a gap for next year of up to $15 million and has said taxes could rise 9.5 percent to 15.5 percent.

To accommodate an overflow crowd, the hearing has been moved from the Board of Legislators chamber to the Supreme Court room. Those who want to speak will be asked to sign in. Individual comments will be limited to three minutes. The hearing is scheduled to run until 8 p.m. but could be extended if needed.

“We’re trying to make sure we can be as orderly as possible,” Legislative Chairwoman Sallie A. Brothers said. “We want people to speak but not attack.”

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