Augusta system taxes people differently

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, April 25, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Two different taxing systems continue to plague Augusta-Richmond County since consolidation. Augustans pay different amounts to get the same service, but that could be about to change.

City leaders have assigned a tax subcommittee to try and figure it out. They have made progress, but the end is nowhere in sight.

It's a dreaded day for Jackie Kennedy. She's paying her property taxes.

"I do know there has been an increase on a number of different things," Kennedy said.

She's owned property for more than 10 years in suburban Augusta. Kennedy is on the fence about commissioners trying to change the city's tax system.

"Rural versus suburban are two totally different ends of the spectrum. It may help one set and hurt another if it's changed," Kennedy said.

"It's almost a situation to where no matter what we do, someone is going to end up unhappy," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

Commissioners Mason, Wayne Guilfoyle and Donnie Smith are working with the finance department to figure out how to get rid of the two-tier tax systems for urban and suburban Augusta while making sure funds are collected for street lights, fire and garbage services.

"I'm not sure what we need to do about it but something needs to be done," Kennedy said.

"It's been very difficult to make this more fair and equal between all residents," Mason said.

"The main goal of the subcommittee is to find a way to charge tax payers the same amount and allow them to receive the same amount of services," said Commissioner Mary Davis.

The tax subcommittee is recommending one mill rate for fire protection, leaving street lights and garbage as fees and continuing to use tax bills in collection.

"I do feel like I get a good quality of service for my money. Everybody wants a lower price for services coming out of their pockets."

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