Lake County commissioners exchange insults over a small property tax hike

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County commissioners exchanged insults over a small property tax hike during this week's budget meeting, and it was all caught on video.

Commission members Leslie Campione and Jimmy Conner went head to head, but it's not the first time the two have clashed.

Because Lake County's budget is so tight, there may not be enough money to properly maintain the park system.

At this week's hearing, the county commission looked at a plan to raise taxes.

"Well, this is really ridiculous. Here's the point. If you want to support that millage, support it," said Campione.

Campione opposed a relatively small increase that would cost the average homeowner an extra $5 to $10 a year. She quickly clashed with conservative Conner, who argued for the increase.

"Stick with what you think your principles are," she said "I don't have to be lectured about principles."

"I don't need to be lectured by the biggest flip-flopper that I've served with in my career about principles," Conner responded. "I really don't."

Conner's argument was that Campione previously supported parks projects and offered no specifics on where she would cut the budget in place of higher taxes.

"If you can't deal with that, then you're being irresponsible," he said.

The sharp exchanges lasted a few minutes, and Conner said he regretted it, but it was Commissioner Welton Cadwell who had the last word, which he directed at both Conner and Campione.

"You all ought to apologize to the three of us. We're the ones who had to sit here and listen to this crap," he told them.

There are several more budget meetings scheduled.