Augusta puts plan in place for stormwater fee

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Commissioners are one step closer to approving a fee to help keep Augusta above water.

Commissioners put a plan in action to figure out how much money they will need to collect from taxpayers to fix the problem.

Commissioner Grady Smith says, "You've got to maintain a system. And, as old as Augusta is, and our water system and stormwater and everything, there's a certain amount of repair that needs to be done."

Director of Engineering in Richmond County Abie Latson says, "If you look around town, we currently have sinkholes all over the place, not just in downtown but in all districts."

Commissioners have been battling for months over a proposed stormwater fee to help fix the drainage and flooding problems.

"This is something we've been sliding to the side, and it's time to do something," Smith said.

On Monday, commissioners approved a step-by-step plan to evaluate the current system.

"It has to be studied some more to actually get concrete numbers," Latson said.

Now the Engineering Department will take inventory of all the clogged drains and pipe issues to figure out how much money it will actually take to fix the problem.

"I'm a taxpayer, too. I don't want to just all of a sudden say, yeah tax me another $100 -- no, I want to say what's it going for?" Smith said.

But for families living in fear of the next rain shower, Latson says, "If we can't maintain it and we can't build new infrastructure, then of course the residents will suffer in the short term and in the long term."

We are told it will still probably be a year and a half or two years before the Engineering Department can decide on a proposed fee.


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