Albany residents say no to higher taxes -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany residents say no to higher taxes

August 20, 2002

Albany - Albany property owners get a chance to complain about a city tax increase. And, city commissioners vote down a salary increase for themselves and the Mayor.

Albany held two public hearings today to discuss the proposed 4.15% property tax increase. For many people, the real increase will be even more because of increased property values after a reassessment.

Sara Buford is one of many Albany residents who feel the assessment price of her home isn't fair. She took her concerns to city commissioners this morning. "This increase in stupid," said Buford."My home isn't worth what it was assessed."

Buford lives on one of only two unpaved roads inside the city limits. The city doesn't maintain her road. She asked commissioners why she should pay more taxes for less service."Last year, my husband lugged our Christmas tree to the dump because the city wouldn't even pick up our limbs. We pay the taxes, but we just don't get the service."

Without the latest reassessment of homes, the city would have seen a decrease in tax revenue - a sure sign of the hard times we're facing.

Commissioners also heard an update on next year's budget, knowing an increase in property taxes will put more pressure on the city to tighten its belt. So a vote to increase the salaries for the Commissioners and Mayor stirred strong feelings.

"It would be irresponsible and wrong to raise our salaries when we're so worried about a balanced budget," said Mayor Tommy Coleman.

The commissioners haven't had a pay raise since 1987. And, they earn about $7,000 a year. Commissioner Bo Dorough made the motion to increase the salary to $13,200.

"We, as Commissioners, are grossly under paid compared to leaders in other cities," said Dorough. In a four to three vote, the salary increase was shot down, leaving Albany commissioners earning the lowest salaries in the state when compared to other cities our size.

Another public hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday, August 27th at 6 p.m. Commissioners will set the millage rate after that hearing.

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