News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, Nov. 19, 2012
WAYNESBORO, Ga. -- After news breaks that one city could hit taxpayers with quadruple tax hikes, families show up to a council meeting to speak out.
Some taxpayers say it's adding insult to injury in a city where about half of the people are living below the poverty line, but Waynesboro leaders say it's a cure for a crisis.
Leaders gave a first look at four tax increases for families during Monday's city council meeting.
They are talking about the 2013 budget. Waynesboro leaders are dealing with a bloated budget and the cure is reaching a little further in people's wallets.
Leon Bynes lives in Waynesboro. He told News 12, "Our citizens just cannot afford that. When you look at the budget for a city this size, of $8.2 million, I think it's out of control."
City leaders want to increase the amount families pay for water, sewer and garbage pickup and after more than 20 years, they want to raise property taxes.
Waynesboro City Administrator Jerry Coalson said, "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."
Some, however, are asking how can so much burden be put on Waynesboro families in a town that hasn't seen growth.
"You haven't had a new subdivision built in the city of Waynesboro in over 20 years," Bynes said.
Alberta Anderson was born and raised in Waynesboro.
She said, "There's a lot of waste, there's a lot of waste with the cars, trucks, with the gas."
Many agree with this Waynesboro taxpayer, trimming some fat is a must. That is why they talked about taking a look at how much gas is being spent or wasted in city cars. Like the quadruple tax hike or not, all can agree someone has to cut back.
"If you are cold, we're just going to have to wrap up," Anderson said.
"Right now, I'm hoping that the citizens of Waynesboro will be able to work with the mayor and city council and we can come to a happy agreement on this," Bynes said.
Again, we are talking about the 2013 budget and this was only the first reading, so city leaders will revisit this topic again.
Bottom line, families at Monday's meeting say they cannot afford this extra hardship.