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N. Augusta residents worry about lack of tax payment on Riverside Village

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 6:44 PM EDT
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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Riverside Village was supposed to be done by Dec. 31, 2018. Not only have many projects not even started, but they’ve been seized by the county for outstanding taxes.

Those projects total nearly $64,000 in county taxes on 12 different projects, to be exact.

Taxes on the city level haven’t been paid either. That bil is nearly $820,000 -- not including the late fees.

“My first guess assumption and belief is that the taxes will be paid,” Mayor Bob Pettit said.

Pettit tells me once a late fee is assessed, there’s no additional fees. So, at this point, the developer of the project doesn’t have much of an incentive to pay up until he absolutely has to in November. If he doesn’t, those properties will be sold at auction.

“I don’t like to deal with hypotheticals,” Pettit said. “I believe the taxes will be paid and the development will proceed as projected.”

Citizens like Mike Reed and Fred Ilardi aren’t as confident.

“We’re stuck with a whole bunch of property that has a tremendous amount of tax dollars attached to it, and the bottom line is we’re all worried on how that’s going to be paid,” Ilardi said.

Reed and Ilardi worry it’s citizens like them who will get stuck footing the bill.

“The fact that they did this without putting it out on a referendum to me is just unconscionable,” Reed said.

Pettit says the city has enough revenue to make its next bond payment in November and taxpayers shouldn’t be affected by any of this.

But Reed and Ilardi are skeptical about that, too. Especially since with the pandemic, city sales tax is down 15 percent.

“If they have it covered, that’s all well and good,” Reed said. “But we should see all those figures and we should see them clearly.”

We did reach out to Greenstone Properties to see if and when they plan to pay up. We didn’t hear back.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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