Higher fees are on the way for the planning and development

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News12 at six o'clock/ Monday, Jan. 27, 2014

Augusta Commission chamber
Augusta Commission chamber. (April 20, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta's Planning and Development Department is down to six building inspectors for the entire city.

Some say that's the reason some city projects are taking longer to complete. Augusta Commissioners are considering making some changes.

"I think Mrs. Wilson should receive whatever it is that she feels her department needs. She's extremely proactive," Commissioner Bill Lockett said.

Planning and Development Director Melanie Wilson wants to raise fees and salaries for her employees.

"She wants to do things in that department that should have been done years ago. We didn't do it, because we outsourced the responsibilities," Lockett said.

"We are very short handed right now. One of the problems that we are having is that salaries are very low right now and it makes it very difficult to recruit people," Director Melanie Wilson said.

Get ready to pay more if you need any thing from her office. Things like rezoning petitions and developmental planning costs are going up by $25 to more than $1,000 depending on what you need.

Committee members just approved the rate hike.

"The fees haven't been amended in about four years. You are usually supposed to look at the amounts every couple of years," he said.

Leaders are expecting more homes to be built in the area due to the Cyber Command announcement at Fort Gordon.

Some said not having enough staff could hurt the growth in the city. The full commission will vote on the changes next week.

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