NORTH AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Bright signs are sending a strong message to Atlanta-based real estate developer, Greenstone Properties. The company owes more than $60,000 to Aiken County. Now the county is saying pay up or we’re going to auction the land.
Mayor Bob Pettit said, “I’m fully optimistic that they will be paid, the question is just when?”
Taxes on 12 parcels of land in Riverside Village, owned by Greenstone Properties, have not been paid. The biggest bill is on tract K, for more than $17,000. If the taxes are not paid to the county by November 6, the county will auction off the land to the highest bidder.
“Even if it’s sold at the tax sale, the owner has a finite period of time, maybe up to a year, to pay the taxes, and then ownership would revert back to them,” explained Mayor Pettit.
Aiken County and North Augusta tax the real estate differently. North Augusta is trying to collect what’s owed through its Municipal Improvement District agreement with Greenstone.
“The city, it’s being assessed as if the build-out were complete. The county has no such agreement. It only taxes it as it’s current state. The hotel is taxed as the hotel. The property across the street from the hotel is taxed as raw land,” said Mayor Pettit.
Neither the County nor the City has collected any of the tax money.
Mayor Pettit added, “With the penalties, which kicked in soon after they were due, it’s an excess of $900,000. The MID agreement was designed to be an incentive to the master developer to complete the build-out.”
If the taxes, penalties, and costs are not paid, the parcels of land will be auctioned November 9.