Slave descendants fighting tax hikes on Ga. coast

AP News
Posted: Sep 30, 2013 4:18 PM

DARIEN, Ga. (AP) — Residents of one of the remaining Gullah-Geechee communities on the Southeast seacoast are appealing against increased property values that brought them whopping tax bills.

The residents of Georgia's Sapelo Island said Monday in appealing the soaring property appraisals that they are fearful they could be forced off lands their families have owned since their ancestors were freed from slavery.

The members of the small community of Hog Hammock on that island got sticker shock last year when steep increases in their property values saddled them with higher tax bills.

The new property values come amid pressure from affluent mainland buyers driving up land prices while seeking property along or near the Atlantic coast. But critics say the increasing tax burden violates protections enacted to help preserve the island's indigenous inhabitants.