Property tax initiative hot topic at Columbus City Council meet - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Property tax initiative hot topic at Columbus City Council meeting Tuesday

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson believes it is time to thaw the property freeze tax.

The Mayor's initiative is to create a subset clause to the property tax freeze. 

The clause would keep current homeowners under the tax freeze, but would increase property taxes incrementally for new homeowners. 

Dr. Benjamin Blair, an Associate Professor of Economics at Columbus State University, gave a presentation on the clause at Tuesday's city council meeting.

He explained how the tax freeze has been in place since 1982 and how they've examined 30 years of data to determine the effectiveness of the freeze.

Tomlinson explained the current system taxes people on the value of the property they no longer own and property values that have dropped significantly are continued to be taxed on the higher value under the tax freeze.

She says the new system would benefit both homeowners and the city.

"That system is presently proposed as a tax break in that it increases our homestead exemption to $20,000 which is a significant tax break," explained Tomlinson. 

They hope a new system will protect those who have planned their financial futures on the freeze, but also allow the city to take advantage of the growth and implement more city services.

"It allows us to take advantage of our growing city. Right now we have people moving to the city and that is great. They demand more city services, but we never reap the benefits of the growth here and that is why we are struggling so much in our general fund," said Tomlinson. 

Tomlinson hopes to get the initiative on the ballot in November 2016.

You can check out Tuesday's City Council agenda by clicking here.

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