City leaders hope crackdown on illegal business will save taxpay - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

City leaders hope crackdown on illegal business will save taxpayers money

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

The hunt for illegal business activity in Augusta will begin with the start of the new year.

"We've already contracted with a group of head hunters and what we're now doing is turn them loose to go find businesses that have not voluntarily come in and tried to obtain a business license with us," said District 7 Commissioner Jerry Brigham.

The headhunters are independent contractors with a company called Prema, who will find the illegal business activity by evaluating tax ID numbers and looking at utility bills. 

"You've got some fly by night people who will fly into town do business and then leave without drawing a permit or getting a business license," Brigham, said.

They plan to collect fees past and present from the businesses trying to fly under the radar.

"The fees begin at $100 a year and go up from there," said Brigham.

Initially the city will split the profits with the headhunters.

"It's 50/50 for the revenue that they find even the current year or the back year; and in future years it would be all ours," said Brigham.

City leaders don't know how much money the venture could bring to the city; but they say headhunters have brought Atlanta big bucks.

"In the metropolitan area it's made as much as 3 to 6 million dollars in revenue," said Brigham.

Brigham is hoping it will also pay off locally, "It goes to the general fund."

Fox54's Mark Barber asked, "Would that mean lower taxes in the long run?" Brigham said, "Hopefully, or allow us not to have to raise taxes."

And that's some good news for taxpayers in Augusta.

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