Taxpayers crowd Municipal building as commission weighs mask mandate


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s a busy time of the year here at the Municipal Building, at least at the Tax Commissioners office. After 80 thousand tax bills hit mailboxes last week, lots of people are coming to the building to pay those tax bills face to face contracts with COVID still a concern.

This wasn’t unexpected, dozens of taxpayers lining up in the hall outside the Tax Commissioners office paying up before the November 15th deadline.

“It will slow down a little bit in the next couple of weeks then there will be a lull in the middle and the first two weeks in November will get busy again,” said Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick.  

“Lots of face-to-face contact.” 

“Lots of face-to-face contract,” Kendrick agreed. 

 And that can help spread the virus.  

 At the Tax Commissioners office, we saw lots of masks, but not on everyone, and masks are not required.

But at the urging of City Administrator Odie Donald commissioners are scheduled to vote Tuesday to require masks at city facilities. 

“I see nothing wrong with a mask mandate because it’s looking out for the welfare of the individuals and other individuals,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

But masks mandates haven’t been in place in city buildings since last year.

“And to go backwards and to mandate masks I don’t see where there’s a need to do that just use common sense and do the right thing wear a mask if you feel you need to,” said Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight.

“So, if you don’t wear a mask get sick and die its no big deal to you, we’re trying to prevent people from dying,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

“This is an important time of year for us. we’re collecting the taxes for the community so whether masks no masks shields, behind glass doors, whatever it is, we’re going to be here to take it,” said Kendrick.

Now all commissioners are not on board with masks being mandated, however six votes on Tuesday could put the requirement in place.

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