Originally created 09/15/96

Taxes fuel schools, government



Augusta's consolidated government expects to receive $24.57 million of the $75.55 million that tax officials billed in real property taxes this year.

Richmond County schools will get $50.15 million of the total, and the state of Georgia, $689,697.

The tax bite on property owners to help support government operations would be more than double $24.57 million if it weren't for the 1-cent local-option sales tax, which is expected to bring in $26.66 million this year.

The government's share of property tax money goes into the general fund, which this year is expected to total $91.01 million.

From that fund, $5.28 million will go for administration - paying the mayor, commissioners and lawyers and footing the bills for elections and the Augusta-Richmond County Planning Commission.

It will cost taxpayers $4.44 million this year just to keep up with the money and collect the taxes, and another $4.14 million to pay the principle, interest and fees on long-term debts.

Catching and jailing criminals will cost $25 million. Prosecuting them will cost another $6.79 million.

Maintaining the streets and drainage systems will cost $8.43 million and providing fire protection $10.57 million.

Public health needs such as immunizing children, distributing food stamps and controlling animals and mosquitoes will cost another $5.79 million.

And keeping recreation centers and senior citizen nutrition programs going will cost $6.5 million.

Another $5.54 million in operating transfers will keep the city buses running, the Old Government House open and pay on the downtown development debt.

Some $2.6 million will be held in contingency and another $4.93 million will be spent by administrative services to maintain buildings and keep the government's computer centers operating.

The government will spend $771,637 promoting industry and human relations and $194,699 on protecting the environment.

Property taxes would no doubt be higher, officials say, if it weren't for about $19 million that will come from the 1-cent special-purpose local-option sales tax this year. This year's proceeds will be added to $46.27 million collected in past years to be spent on roads, bridges and community projects this year.

Another $3.82 million is passed through from street light fees and mixed drink, beer and hotel-motel taxes to keep urban district lights burning and the civic center and Convention and Visitors Bureau doors open.