Columbus voters will decide on city's tax freezes

Columbus voters will decide on city's tax freezes

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A big fight is brewing in Columbus over the historical tax freeze – should it stay in place or be lifted?

With a vote of 6-3 Tuesday morning, Columbus City Council gave the go ahead to send the tax freeze issue to the state legislature.

If it give the okay, voters likes William Huff will see a resolution on the November 2016 ballot.

"We need to be realistic and understand we've got to raise for money and how do you do that well, obviously you do it by raising taxes and you do it with growth," William said.

William realizes his taxes will increase under the new plan, but says he's willing to bite the bullet for the sake of growing his hometown.

"I was driving the other morning in I saw a lot of people from Harris County coming in and that's a lot of money going out of the window," William said.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says the current tax system or welcome stranger tax, as she calls it, doesn't allow the city to collect money from newcomers and suppresses the city's economic growth.

Under the new plan, Tomlinson is proposing a $20,000 tax break every year for homeowners who buy a home after January 1, 2017.

The current homeowners will continue receiving a $13,500 exemption on the value of their home.

Councilor Bruce Huff, Gray Allen and Judy Thomas voted against putting the issue on the ballot.

"I feel that we could lose the entire tax freeze if something is challenged under two tax systems," Bruce said.

If the voters say yes, the new proposed tax system would not go into effect until 2018.

So far, there is no word on when state lawmakers will make a final decision.

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