DARIEN, Ga. (AP) — Slave descendants who own island property off the Georgia coast are fighting whopping tax increases that they say threatens one of the last Gullah-Geechee communities in the South.
The taxpayers come from a tiny community of about 50 called Hog Hammock on Sapelo Island, which remains separated from the mainland nearly 150 years after the slaves were freed.
All the roads are dirt on Hog Hammock and many residents live in mobile homes. So property owners such as George Grovner were stunned by their new property tax bills. Grovner says his taxes for an acre with a mobile home shot from $600 to $2,100.
County officials Tuesday requested new assessments for Hog Hammock after 43 residents appealed. They cited a 1994 ordinance that aims to protect the community's "indigenous population."