Newspaper ad creates confusion about Grovetown property taxes

Columbia County

GROVETOWN, Ga. (WJBF) – The City of Grovetown ran an ad in the Augusta Chronicle Tuesday saying property taxes may increase by up to 25 percent. The same day, Mayor Gary Jones said in a Facebook post that would not be the case, but there was no retraction in the paper, leaving some residents confused.

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The tax was proposed in order for Grovetown to be able to increase minimum wage. Mayor Jones says they found a way to do so using other revenue sources, therefore not needing to increase local property tax.

“So we’ve identified the funding source in regards to that, and so there is no need, and we were able to fund this idea and take this action without having to raise the taxes at all,” Mayor Jones said.

The same day the ad hit the paper, Mayor Jones went to Facebook saying, “After discussion, Mayor and Council determined that an increase in the millage rate would not be necessary and that alternate sources of funding would be used to cover any shortfall.”

The money to increase minimum wage to a competitive rate, according to Mayor Jones, comes from two revenue sources that he plans to disclose at Tuesday’s public hearing.

So how did that ad end up running in the paper? Mayor Jones says it wasn’t supposed to.

“We asked, I think we asked for a retraction,” Mayor Jones said. “We also asked that they try to pull it in time and it didn’t get pulled.”

But the Augusta Chronicle tells NewsChannel 6 this isn’t the case. They say there was no request for a retraction or cancellation of the original ad.

“We never did receive any cancellations or anything to that matter,” said Rob Bledsoe of Augusta Chronicle’s legal advertising. “If we get a cancellation that will come across. That would still be pending in my folder and I’m currently not seeing anything pending as far as any cancellations go.”

But Bledsoe says if there needs to be a retraction, they’re happy to do so.

“If anything needs to be done, sure. Obviously we would do a retraction or anything we need to do to help clear it up,” Bledsoe said.

Regardless of the ad, Grovetown residents say they’re happy there’s no property tax increase.

“We pay enough of property tax already, and I don’t see no reason for it going up,” Grovetown resident, Judy Long said.

“Property tax now, it’s high,” owner of Frank Wilson’s Equipment Center, Frank Wilson said. “And I can understand it going up some, but 25 percent just sounds to me like it’s very excessive.”

Mayor Jones invites the public to Grovetown City Hall on July 13 at 10 A.M. for a public hearing.

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