Vacant lot fees in Augusta could be changing soon

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Tuesday, June 17, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Homeowner Karen Zipper says the new trash service, fees and the way the county bills is not good. "It means that I may end up losing my house," homeowner Karen Zipper said.

She told commissioners that the trash fee needs to be removed from the tax bill. Zipper also says it's not fair that the county can place a lien on your property if you don't pay the garbage fee.

"My income is very low and I can't afford it with taxes going up and now the trash fee doubling," Zipper said.

"I think we are going to review it and definitely try and make it as equitable as we can for everybody," Commissioner Grady Smith said.

Environmental Services Director Mark Johnson presented a scenario where some vacant lot owners could choose whether they wanted the county to clean and then pay the $150 fee.

"We need to be fair across the board. Look at all the developers that has empty lots and houses to be built. Why should they have to pay $155 for a service they will never use," Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.

Leaders discussed allowing property owners with only a lot to opt in to the county program. Property owners that have a house on the lot will still be charged the $150 fee.

Zipper hopes the county acts fast before her trash bill causes her to become homeless. Augusta Commissioners have yet to finalize a plan of action.

A final plan will be presented and then the commission will vote.

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