SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Owners of Savannah properties suffering from blight and neglect are getting socked with higher property tax bills.

Savannah's City Hall said in a news release that owners of 38 chronically blighted properties were being ordered this month to pay higher taxes. An ordinance passed by Savannah's city council last year allows tax collectors to bill owners of eyesore properties at seven times the city's millage rate.

Savannah officials said the ordinance was intended to make sure that owners didn't benefit from lower taxes because neglected homes were receiving lower property values.

The city sent notices to owners of 64 blighted properties in November, warning them to make improvements or face higher tax bills. Of those, 38 properties were still deemed in violation when assessed earlier this year.

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