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Calif.: Bell Got $3M in Illegal Property Taxes

The tiny Southern California city of Bell, which is already under scrutiny for giving its officials huge salaries, may have to return $3 million in illegal property taxes.

State Controller John Chiang said Friday that an audit found that for at least three years, the Los Angeles suburb has been charging higher-than-allowed property taxes for its pension obligations.

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Chiang has ordered the tax rate to be reduced as quickly as possible and says it might cut the bill on a $275,000 home by $250 a year.

Interim city manager Pedro Carillo says he's working to put a resolution lowering the tax rate before the City Council on Monday. Carillo says it's not clear yet whether the excess money will be returned to property owners. It could go to the state.

The small suburb has been the subject of media attention lately because city officials were paid unreasonably high salaries.

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