News 12 First at Five / Monday, Nov. 19, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Taxes could see a major spike in Waynesboro. At Monday night's council meeting, city leaders will take a first look at four possible tax increases for next year, including a possible increase in property taxes for the first time in two decades.
Xavier Wimberly is a taxpayer in Waynesboro, and he says, "I don't truly see the need for the increase."
Taxpayers aren't too thrilled about the proposed quadruple whammy that would raise property taxes for the first time in 20 years, along with water, sewer and solid waste.
City Councilwoman Portia Washington says she isn't sold on the idea either: "The bottom line is this: We aren't growing, so why are we asking for more money?"
But the city administrator says the increases are necessary.
"We had a warm winter and we didn't sell very much natural gas. So therefore, we didn't bring in the revenues that we typically bring in and that we budgeted for," City Administrator Jerry Coalson said.
The city administrator says the warm winter shaved off nearly half a million dollars in revenue for the city.
"That's the excuse for this year. What happened last year and the prior years? Why did we go into the reserves, why are we having issues with needing money?" Wimberly said.
Monday's city council meeting will be a first reading over the 2013 budget, the first step to deciding if all of these tax increases are necessary.
"To keep spending our money in a vicious cycle of waste, no, I'm not with it," Washington said.
But, if the increases aren't approved, the administrator says the city may be in trouble.
"We would have to cut money in some of the departments; we would have to cut expenditures significantly," Coalson said.
If all four amendments pass, the average family in Waynesboro could expect to pay about $122 extra per year in taxes.