Bell OKs property tax cuts amid state scrutiny

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AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Bell, Calif. residents Hussein Saleh, left, and Eddie Delgado call for the ouster of city officials during a special meeting of the Bell City Council, Thursday, July 22, 2010, in Bell, Calif. Bell's police chief and two top city administrators agreed to resign Thursday night during a closed-door meeting at City Hall. Revelations about Bell city leaders' pay has sparked anger in a blue-collar town that is one of the poorest in Los Angeles County.

The suburban Los Angeles city embroiled in a pay scandal has lowered its property taxes after a state audit showed it overcharged residents to cover pension obligations.

Bell Councilman Luis Artiga says the council unanimously voted on the resolution during a lengthy, heated meeting that lasted into Tuesday morning. He says the city also voted 5-0 to seek a plan with the state to refund overpayments directly to taxpayers.

A state audit last week found the Bell overcharged residents more than $3 million over the last three years to pay for pension obligations.

The finding came after state and local prosecutors launched investigations into high salaries paid to the city's leaders, including nearly $800,000 to Bell's city manager.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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