Is it time to reform the city's tax code?

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News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Do you think everyone in Augusta should pay the same in property taxes? They do not, and the city is on a dual tax code system. Some city leaders are working to change it.

After they figure out a new tax code, the full commission will still have to vote. Then commissioners will have to vote to change the city's charter. Property owners, much you pay for the next few years could be in question.

City leaders are working on reforming the tax code.

"I just paid $600 on a $2,600 just for property taxes," said property owner Eddie Williams.

"The cost of living has went up and a lot of people can't afford high taxes right now," said property owner Gwendolyn Haynes.

"What we need to do is make sure we have an equal tax code. Now we have dual tax codes," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

Mason is one of three commissioners working to change property tax codes. The differences between what suburban and urban taxes include the cost for trash, fire and street lights.

"Urban pays the county fee, and urban tax on top of that, and the urban fee is more," said City Administrator Fred Russell.

"Once we see what it would be for a single code, then we would determine if that was feasible or appropriate," Mason said.

"At some point, some things are going to change, and more than likely, most people are not going to be happy about that," Russell said.

"The fact of the matter is there's nothing easy that we do in this government. The fact that it's hard is not a reason not to do it," Mason said.

"It could mean that they might end up with the property. I'm not going to keep struggling and killing myself to try and pay it," Williams said.

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