News 12 at 6 o'clock, October 22, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Erica and Vicki had leftovers and oatmeal in a cup for lunch. "Yeah," said Vicki. "We're broke." The two are new homeowners, and when it comes to the city's recent call to raise taxes Erica says, "No sir, I don't like it."
Those taxes will generate $3.4 million to keep deputies rolling.
"I'm saying that if you want services at the level that we have today we need to come up with $3 million," said city administrator Fred Russell.
Law enforcement makes up more than half of the city's budget.
"There's room for consideration," said Erica. "I know at least in the area I live in we could use more deputies."
It seems when it comes to raising taxes there's room for a little give and take on both sides.
"The doors are open to look for other funding sources," said Russell. "I'm not tied into that $3.4 million coming from the property owner."
The city administrator says there is at least one other option. He says there is the option of a one cent sales tax increase. "Instead of laying the burden on the homeowner you spread that burden on people who buy products in Augusta," said Russell.
Do you think local property taxes are too high? Compared to other cities like Columbus, Macon, and Athens, Augusta's property taxes are actually lower.
"That sounds good when you compare it," said Russell. "But when you gotta write the check it's tough. We understand that."
Commissioners will spend the next 4 weeks debating the budget proposal. The city administrator says you can view the document at the Augusta Richmond County library.