How High Will Property Taxes Go?

By: Meryl Conant
By: Meryl Conant

It's a good thing if your house is worth a lot of money, right? Well not when it comes to paying taxes on that property.

Monday night Waynesboro held a public hearing on its proposed 2005 real estate tax rate.

It was a packed room with strong sentiments about a subject important to many residents.

"Some people have told me that their reassessment went up $40,000 and $30,000, but you get to the average that means some went up less," said Waynesboro Mayor Thomas Reynolds.

In the proposed budget for next year, Waynesboro's real estate tax rate would stay at 85 cents per 100 dollars of assessed value.

But reassessment increased property values by more than 14% on average, so that means shelling out more in taxes.

And at Monday night's public hearing residents came out to vocalize their concerns.

"I'm on a fixed income," said Waynesboro resident Ernest Ecoe. "I've been retired nine years and my pension has not increased. Nothing has increased. Everything has gone up on me."

And some people questioned if the city's recent commercial growth is actually helping the residents.

"It's kind of like we're saying we'll give you a Walmart so you can save 50 cents for a pair of underwear but we are going to charge you more to live here and have the privilege to shop there," said Eddie Price, who moved out of Waynesboro. "And it's actually wiping out any savings anybody in Waynesboro ever thought about."

But the Mayor insists this growth will be a major help in the long term.

"Actually with all of the new that is coming to town and that has come to town and will come to town, that's going to ease the tax burden on the taxpayer we thought this year," said Mayor Reynolds.

But he says it didn't because the city was short about one million dollars from what they thought they would get from machinery and tool taxes.

And they say the recent sale of Dupont is to blame.

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