City of Augusta in Need of Money - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

City of Augusta in Need of Money

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Augusta, GA - Augusta Commissioners voted not to increase property taxes in the city.

Without that tax increase, Augusta commissioners are back to square one, trying to figure out how to raise revenue for the city.

Right now, without a tax increase, the Garden City is spending more money than it is taking in, causing a huge budget hole.

"Well, they made the hole so they're trying to fill it with my money," said Lee Lohre.

Lohre has lived in Augusta for more than 40 years and he's happy the motion for a property tax increase failed.

Lohre said, "there wasn't an argument made sufficient to say, this is the time to raise taxes that much. They had not justified that."

Lohre says he feels the only remedy for commissioners was to raise taxes.

The city says it's in desperate need of money.

"Well, we've got money. It's just right now, we're tapping into the savings account to basically pay the light bill," said Steve Cassell, Interim Deputy Administrator for the City of Augusta.

The vote would have increased the millage rate by 1.75 mils.

That would have added $61 in taxes to a $100,000 home.

The money would have been used to help close a $5,000,000 dollar budget hole and to give city employees a one-time $500 raise.

Cassell says February's ice storm drained the city's disaster fund.

"We've got to start pulling revenue. There's implications with the board of education with the delay of the tax bills. They may have to start borrowing money for their operating too," said Cassell.

Cassell says bottom line, the city is spending more money than it is bringing in.

Lohre believes the commission will come up with a plan to fill the gap.

"I'm sure they're going to come back with a different program, but I'm sure it will be less," said Lohre.

Because the millage rate hasn't been set, your property tax bill could be mailed out later than the usual September 15th date.

If that happens, you'll still have 60 days to pay your bill.

The commission meets to try again Monday at 11:30 a. m.

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1336 Augusta West Parkway
Augusta, GA 30909

Telephone: 706.722.6664

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