Property taxes going up in Richmond County

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Monday, Aug. 25, 2014

AUGUSTA (WRDW) -- If you live in Augusta, your property taxes are going up. Hundreds showed up at three different public hearing to protest.

The increase actually failed to pass last week a recent vote changed all of that.
The mayor had to break the tie.

"The millage rate has not been increased in seven years. So I will vote in favor of the motion," said Mayor Copenhaver.

"Why Mayor Copenhaver did what he did, I have no idea. I feel like he sold the city right down the road with that vote," said Homeowner Joe Smith.

Property owner Joe Smith says he owns $3 million worth of property all over Augusta.
He says city officials didn't listen to the people.

"He had an opportunity to make these people become responsible. He walked right away from it," said

The increase of 1.75 mills will mean homeowners will pay about 60 dollars more a year on a $100,000 home.

"Ryan, I tell you I went on the record with you and others saying this was something we needed to do," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

Commissioner Ben Hasan was in office less than five minutes and his first vote was in favor of the increase. "We didn't have much of a choice. The staff recommended that for quite some time. As a result of not raising the taxes in seven years, we are in a bad situation," said Commissioner Ben Hasan.

The increase is set to bring in $7 million and will fill a $5 million hole in the budget. The rest could be split between $500 employee raises and the city's savings account.

Some homeowners worry they'll have to dip into their savings to pay for this increase.
Augusta Commissioners and Mayor Deke Copenhaver have approved a millage rate increase for Richmond County.

The plan to raise the millage rate by 1.75 mills was approved when Mayor Copenhaver cast his vote to break the tie.

We are working to find out what the millage increase means for how much you'll be paying for your home.

Today's vote came during a special meeting. The full commission was unable to pass the millage rate during last week's meeting.

News 12's Ryan Houston is following the story and will have more on News 12 at 6 o'clock.

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