Some Augusta Commissioners are considering a property tax increase

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News12 at 11 o'clock/ Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta leaders are still trying to figure out what to do about the $8 million hole in next year's budget. Some want to tax property owners more while others say businesses should pay more.

Viewers are sounding off on our News 12 Facebook page saying the city should tighten their belts and spend less.

"In college, I had to budget my tuition out for years or I could have spent it all at one time," said Commissioner Grady Smith.

Problem is City Administrator Fred Russell says the city is running on fewer employees and not providing the level of service needed. Different views exist on whether taxpayers are happy with the services they're receiving.

"People are going to tell you in the maintenance field no. We're not cutting enough grass and we're not doing enough with the storm water," Commissioner Donnie Smith said.

"You know overall I think the city does well. We could always do better," Commissioner Smith said.

"They're not satisfied. I get tons of phone calls. We can't maintain right of ways. We can't clean the ditches properly. We can't keep the roads where they need to be," Commissioner Corey Johnson said.

City Administrator Fred Russell is pushing for a one millage rate increase. It would generate $4 million and cost property owners around $35 a year. Commissioner Corey Johnson says people spend more buying lunch.

"Those $25,000 people who voted me in don't want to have to pay more," said Commissioner Smith.

"You're talking about $25 maybe $30 on a $100,000 house. We'll spend that on lunch," said Commissioner Johnson.

"The last thing I want to look at is a tax increase or Excise Tax. Right now we're looking to see where we can save," said Commissioner Davis.

Not having an excise tax has left a $1 million hole in the budget that will double year after year. It means the city will be looking for ways to fill that line item in the budget for years to come.

City leaders say if the Excise Tax is not brought back into play the first year it leaves a $1 million hole and grows larger. It means the city will be looking to find that revenue for years to come.

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