BRYAN CO., GA (WTOC) - The city of Richmond Hill is threatening to sue the Bryan County Commission over a proposed property tax increase.
The county held a public hearing on the millage rate increase Thursday night. Richmond Hill city leaders say the county has overtaxed Richmond Hill residents, forcing them to pay taxes for services they didn't benefit from, like fire and sanitation service in unincorporated Bryan County.
The city says they'll file a lawsuit if the county doesn't change the way they're handling the property tax increase.
"This tax increase, and that's what it is, is simply unfair to the citizens who already paid 43 percent of Bryan County taxes. This is after the county agreed to go to mediation, then they come up with this tax increase. It's flys definitely in the face of mediation. We urge them to pull the tax increase and come to the table and mediate," said Mayor Russ Carpenter, Richmond Hill. "They say equalization. We say 'yeah, equalization if it's legal, if it is fair.' We don't believe it has been fair. We don't think you can get it fair in the manner they are proposing."
The Bryan County Commission chairman tells WTOC the county just wants the city to pay for the services it provides.
"We want to make sure everybody pays equally for the services they get. For instance, recreation. You know, as somebody in the county, they shouldn't really pay more for their recreational services than somebody in the city, so it's a little bit of inequity and that's all we're trying to correct," said Carter Infinger, Bryan County Commission, Chairman. Against our 31 county services that we provide, we just want to make sure everybody pays equally for those. We're going to work it out for our citizens. I think it's important that the city and county work together, and we will work together. We'll get it worked out for all of us involved."
This was only a public hearing. Next comes a vote for the increase. Keep in mind, the county and city have set dates for mediation.