Richmond Co. leaders looking to improve flawed tax structure - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Richmond Co. leaders looking to improve flawed tax structure

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Augusta city leaders are looking into the way residents are being taxed; they say it's time for an update because it's a flawed system.

The city taxes residents three times more to pick up trash in suburban Augusta than they do in urban Augusta.

The uneven taxes between the urban and suburban areas continue to other government services such as fire protection and street light assessment.

Urban homeowners pay less than suburban owners if their homes are worth $35,000 to $100,000. But if they own homes $150,000 or more they pay higher taxes than homes worth the same amount in suburban Augusta.

These numbers only consider county taxes, state and school taxes are excluded.

The rates are different because the government is still using the tax rate structure that existed 16 years ago, before the city and county consolidated.

Fox54's Mark Barber asked city administrator Fred Russell, "Someone in the meeting said this system is far from perfect, is that something you agree with? Oh yes, it's far from perfect."

Now city leaders are looking to improve the tax structure but it doesn't look like any solutions will benefit the city.

"There are no savings involved and that becomes a big issue," Russell, said.

Russell says to break even there may be some changes that 90% of Richmond County residents won't be happy with.

"We're probably going to have to raise taxes for some and not lower them enough for others."

Barber asked, "Can people in Richmond County expect a tax hike this year?" Russell said, "It's way too early to say that."

Russell says that's a political decision that will probably be made in August.

Russell tells Fox54 they haven't decided how to update the tax system yet. City leaders will continue meeting every Thursday to determine how to best update the tax structure.

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