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County missing $7 million

WILMINGTON -- New Hanover County and Wilmington officials have discovered a major miscalculation in this year's property tax evaluation. Translation: the county is $7 million short. New Hanover County Manager Bruce Shell says the property tax re-evaluation was $7 million higher than it should have been. Tax exempt properties -- such as non-profits, schools or government-owned facilities --were included in the reevaluation when they should not have been. Shell said, "I'm not happy about it, but we'll do what we have to do to rectify the problem. Mistakes happen. We are professionals at work, this was nothing but a professional mistake and we will do the best we can to correct it." Shell says the way the county plans to put together a team of people to figure out where they can reduce spending. He says the mistake will not have an impact on residents' property taxes from 2007. Shortfall or no, the county approved $50,000 in funding this morning to bring the submarine USS North Carolina to Wilmington May 3 for its formal commissioning. The city of Wilmington has already agreed to ante up another $50,000 for the event. The Navy is also helping pay for the commissioning, which is expected to bring about five thousand people to the area. The sub will be brought to the state ports in late April under extremely tight security because it is a nuclear vessel.

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