Columbia County's property values, and the taxes based on those values, are rising about 10 percent this year.
It's a lot of money. When county commissioners on Tuesday approve the county's 2006-07 budget, they'll plan to spend nearly $4.3 million than in the previous year, for a total budget just a few librarians away from $49 million.
Taxpayers often complain that politicians brag about not raising the millage rate, when they're really raising taxes from higher property values.
But it could be worse. In Augusta, officials say property values aren't expected to rise more than 1 percent this year. With inflation hovering at 3.5 percent, that means Augusta's property is actually worth less than a year ago. And even though they're making an effort to trim spending, the city's upcoming budget includes a millage-rate increase of just more than 1 mill, yet will still include a $5 million deficit.
Property that's worth less, with tax bills that are higher? No, thanks.
It's often unfair to compare the neighboring counties. But those in Columbia County who are complaining that their largest investment is worth far more than it was a year ago should consider the disheartening alternative on the other side of the county line.
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