AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — The Augusta finance officials are telling commissioners the tax rate being proposed this year is actually lower than last year, but commissioners are saying don’t call it a tax cut.
“You know what, if you’re paying more, out of your pocket for your property taxes, it’s an increase, no matter how you want to paint it, it’s an increase to you,” said Commissioner John Clarke.
Commissioners are facing a choice, go with the tax rate proposed by the city budget writers, or the rollback rate proposed by the state to offset the massive reassessment of city properties this year.
But the rollback rate would result in the city taking in about half a million dollars less in revenue than anticipated in the 2022 budget, with the city facing expenses for things, higher gas prices and fire equipment.
“If we do roll it back, we’re going to have to find money from other places to put to keep programs going so I think the citizens would understand,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Bobby Williams.
But other commissioners support the roll back saying now is not the time to be hitting taxpayers up for more.
“So many that I’ve talked to are just like, ‘please don’t do this, please don’t do these,’ prices everywhere are high, this is the last thing we need to do,” said Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight.
“If I go along with the rollback, okay, there’s a few people happy because their taxes haven’t been increased but that may shorten our budget revenue for next year,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.
Last week commissioners deadlocked on deciding to set the tax rate, after this meeting city leaders are looking to next week try again.