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Deltona residents feel cheated out of tax dollars

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DELTONA, Fla. - Some Deltona residents claim their city is being short-changed on tax dollars by Volusia County and some city officials agree.

Those residents told Channel 9's Jeff Deal they're digging into the matter to find out if millions of dollars need to be paid back to the city.

Mark Luneburg has been a Volusia County resident for 30 years and he feels the county’s west side is largely ignored by leaders.

“Anytime you want to do something you have to travel to Daytona,” he said.

Some residents and leaders believe Deltona was cheated out of millions of dollars in convention development tax money.

City Commissioner Webster Barnaby is looking into the situation.

“We need to look into why the funds were not used for Deltona,” Barnaby said.

The convention development tax is 3 percent on hotel rooms.

At issue is a state statute that some believe shows how the money should be spent.

In the statute, two-thirds of that tax should go toward "the largest existing publicly-owned convention center in the county,” which would be the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach.

The other one-third would go toward building something similar in the "most populous municipality in the county."

Since the 2000 census, that has been Deltona, and the money could be more than a million dollars a year.

The controversy has prompted the county attorney to respond.

He said that statute doesn't apply to Volusia County, but others believe it needs to be explored.

"The county chairman has said it needs to be investigated further," Barnaby said.

The chair of the county commission said he's also having legal advisors look at it.

A county spokesman told us the statute being looked at only applies to two counties, Duval and Dade, and that this shouldn't be an issue.