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Tax increase won't affect all Augusta property owners

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 5:38 PM
Last updated Wednesday, July 25, 2012 12:57 AM
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A property tax increase that affects only certain Augusta property owners is in the works to replace revenue lost countywide.

The increase, given tentative 7-0 approval by the Augusta Commission, means property owners outside the old city limits will pay an additional 0.55 mills in fire taxes, though the revenue collected pays for fire service everywhere.

City Administrator Fred Rus­sell said that the owner of a $100,000 house will see a $19 annual increase in local city taxes and that the increase doesn’t have to be advertised because it’s within a special tax fund.

The increase will replace about $1.7 million in lost state fire insurance premium taxes, according to Finance Director Donna Williams.

Augusta’s share of state revenue was reduced last year to about $9.3 million after it posted no population gains in the 2010 census, Deputy Fi­nance Di­rector Tim Schroer said.

Raising taxes on part of the city for services delivered citywide reminded Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles of the disparity that still exists in the city’s tax system more than 15 years after consolidation.

Though he voted for the tax increase, Bowles called the system “illegal” and said he might file a lawsuit Jan. 4 after leaving office to compel the city to even it out.

Residents in the old city, now less than a third of Augusta’s residents, pay for trash pickup, fire protection and other services by two mill rates, a general fund millage and an urban services millage, which add up to 16.896 mills.

Residents living outside the old city limits pay the general fund millage and the fire tax millage that the commission raised to 2.152 mills, plus a separate fee for trash pickup.

All other millages levied by city government are expected to remain about the same. The rate is the amount per $1,000 of a property’s taxable value used to calculate an owner’s tax bill.

Cliff Channell, whose firm Channell Realty owns or manages hundreds of rental properties inside and outside the old city limits, wasn’t bothered as much by the disparity as by the increase, which he said was unnecessary.

“The only reason they would need it is to increase their pay,” Channell said, mentioning a fire truck that hit a Walton Way fire station recently. “If they have drivers that are going to knock out a center post, they don’t need any more money.”

Each mill rate in Augusta-Richmond County is limited by a cap imposed by state law during the 1970s. In a presentation to the commission last week, Russell said that although the general fund millage is at 86.4 percent of the cap, the fire fund millage was only at 71.1 percent.

District 7 Commissioner Jerry Brigham backed the tax increase and said more of a recently discovered 2011 budget surplus of $1.6 million ought to be directed to the fire fund to further cushion the department.

The tax rates must be advertised twice and approved again by the commission before they can be used to calculate tax bills coming out later this year.

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dichotomy
30755
Points
dichotomy 07/25/12 - 12:02 pm
2
0
Robbed once again.

Again the rural property taxpayers SUBSIDIZING THE OLD CITY. Will this kick in about the same time that rural residents will be paying $320 a year for once a week garbage service? So, how much money have they stolen from rural residents in the past few months? We pay more for EVERYTHING. SEVENTEEN years after consolidation and the only thing that was consolidated was rural property owners tax money downtown. Consolidation was nothing more than legalized robbery of rural residents to support the failed city of Augusta. I hate this consolidated government. I hate Fred Russell. I hate our commissioners. I hate this failed fiasco of a municipal goverment. I wish a painful pox on all of them. I feel like a captive blood donor at a vampire picnic.

And Fred says, "Oh, let's let the stupid people in the county pay for everything". Do we even have any representatives on the commission? Our rural property valuations are artificially inflated, our trash fees are artificially inflated, and now our fire department fees are artifically inflated. Where the hell are OUR commissioners? Guilfoyle, Jackson, Mason....hello are you out there anywhere? Is somebody downtown paying you all off?

Why are rural residents treated like crap by our commissioners? Why do they sacrifice us on the altar of protecting "city" residents? Why do they all look like a bobble head dogs in the back window of a car everytime a proposal comes up to charge COUNTY residents more than CITY residents for the same CRAPPY service we get? I am sick tired of these arrogant politicians taking more and more of my money while giving the "city" a free ride.

I HATE the disparity and discrimination our elected representatives impose on the county residents. We are in NO WAY a consolidated municipality. It's US and THEM and US is paying for everything. The county residents receive nothing and are only here to be blood donors to pump life support into the rotting corpse of the old city. A city that would already be a rotted stinkhole if they had not stolen the rural property owner's tax money seventeen years ago. We are not equal in this farce of a government. We are not treated equally, not taxed equally, not serviced equally, and are apparently hated by our own commissioners. How about it Guilfoyle? I don't see any pictures of you kicking and screaming and punching somebody out about this vote.

Please, somebody start a lawsuit. I will contribute but I can't do it alone. We are treated unfairly, taxed unequally, and discriminated against in all services and distribution of tax funded projects. And they probably wonder "why" when people go off of the deep end.

I'm tired of this. I am sick and tired of this. There is no legal, moral, of logical explanation for the blatant discrimination against rural property owners. I HATE this blood sucking "city" government and everyone in it and it is getting personal.

allhans
23292
Points
allhans 07/25/12 - 12:05 pm
2
0
Can that be right? WOW!

Can that be right? WOW! What a hit for the affected property owners.

dichotomy
30755
Points
dichotomy 07/25/12 - 01:05 pm
2
0
Every rural taxpayer should

Every rural taxpayer should call the sheriff's office and file a scamming report against each commissioner and Fred Russel. If this government isn't a financial scam being run against rural taxpayers then there isn't such a thing as a scam.

dichotomy
30755
Points
dichotomy 07/25/12 - 01:16 pm
2
0
Is there any reason why

Is there any reason why countyman's prosperous and growing "city" area cannot pay the same as US for their fire protection, garbage collection, and have their property valuations done by the same crook that robs the rural residents on our "Residential" vacant property where we don't have the density to support restaurants and stores and we ALSO don't have the density to be "Residential" but are taxed that way anyway.

Sweet son
9716
Points
Sweet son 07/25/12 - 02:44 pm
2
0
What the Hell is this???

I am old enough to remember where the old city limits were but they should have been gone with the consolidation of the governments years ago!! I suppose there is no such thing as a level playing field in the great State of Richmond County! Hey Joe, call me if I need to help with the suit in anyway. Also we might just want to file legal documents to recall all of the Commission's finest and even the mayor!!

dichotomy
30755
Points
dichotomy 07/25/12 - 04:32 pm
1
0
"we might just want to file

"we might just want to file legal documents to recall all of the Commission's finest and even the mayor!!"

I'll support that. I think my commissioners, Guilfoyle and Smith, are playing for the other team. Seems like most of the time they either vote against their constituents when they are there, or they don't show up at all to vote for us when we need them.

While Columbia County cuts taxes, our ding dong do-littles raise taxes on RC rural red-headed stepchildren in the most cowardly way possible by doing so in a way that did not have to be advertised. Our commissioners can't agree on a damned thing to move us forward but they can ALWAYS agree on a tax increase or a fee increase on South Augusta. And the vote was 7-0. Why didn't the AC publish the names of the 7 who approved this TAX INCREASE and the 3 cowards who avoided the vote. I want to know how the people who represent the rural residents voted....or if they failed to show up and protect us against the blatant discrimination built into this form of government we have that apparently comes with a protected species attached to it.

Come on South Augusta. Raise up against this unfair, illegal discrimination. Grab your rails, and a bucket of tar and pay a visit to your commissioners. Ride by their house and honk your horn at them. Let them know your are peeved and are damned tired of the TAX and FEE discrimination they subject us "rural" folks to. As for Russell, hopefully my indian voodoo chant and doll will bring a pox on him that will take him out of the game. Actually, I asked for a pox on all of them but I don't think I can get them all so I really concentrated on Russell and Guilfoyle.

And, oh yeh, WE JUST GOT ANOTHER TAX INCREASE SO REMEMBER TO VOTE NO ON TSPLOST.

dichotomy
30755
Points
dichotomy 07/25/12 - 08:32 pm
1
0
Well, I am glad to know that

Well, I am glad to know that Guilfoyle is looking out for the firefighters and deputies but as far as I am concerned his record for protecting rural property owners from tax increases and garbage fee hikes is dismal, all while letting the "city" residents get a free ride and be subsidized by the rural county residents. You may love him.....me, not so much.

All I know is that I am sick of the double standard taxation and fee structure in this "consolidaterd" city of Augusta. There is nothing "consolidated" about Augusta except for rural taxpayer money being consolidated, and spent, downtown. Rural residents take it in the shorts everytime the commission decides they need to steal some more money, and they always let the old "city" ride free.

bubbasauce
20573
Points
bubbasauce 07/25/12 - 10:56 pm
2
0
Crooks, thieves and thugs.

Crooks, thieves and thugs. All of them! And lets not forget legal gangsters!

gottcha
29
Points
gottcha 07/26/12 - 04:44 pm
0
1
DICK TOMOI feel compelled to

DICK TOMO
I feel compelled to write in after watching you slam Guilfoyle time after time. I'm writing as a 25+ year veteran that has served both city and county. I hold a top position in the fire service today. When it comes to the firefighters and public safety there's not one commissioner that has done more for us than Wayne Guilfoyle. When I call him with issues day or night Mr. Guilfoyle has either picked up or called within min. I can assure you that if Mr. Guilfoyle decides to run again WE the Firefighters will be standing next to him ready for the fight. You can attack Russell all you want,But when it comes to Commissioner Guilfoyle be ready to fight us.

Had a chance to speak with Mr. Channell today and I'm pleased with the response I got about his comments in the article. It's my understanding he was misquoted. Mr. Channell thanks for taking my call

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 09/16/12 - 09:17 pm
0
0
Believe me it ain't just the
Unpublished

Believe me it ain't just the commissioners or the mayor that are lacking. Most every department in city giovernment is bloated or ignorant in ways to budget. Take for instance our use of large fire trucks to go to the uniform store or to perform maintenance on hydrants. It isn't a big deal until you find out one of those monstrosities costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and their expected life is determined basically by their odometer. What is wrong with using one of the dozens of top-of-the-line pick-ups the fire department owns? Oh I forgot, those vehicles are the personal property of the chiefs. Or how about the nifty armored vehicle for the police that was purchased for the SWAT teams, is it ever going to leave the station?

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Property tax increase OK'd

Augusta commissioners broke a seven-year trend Wednesday and agreed 7-0 to raise property taxes by 1.75 mills to cover a deficit and provide employees a small bonus.
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