News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Feb. 1, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Lakemont Neighborhood Association is upset with the city leaders over the dredging of Lake Olmstead. They want the city to dredge more of the lake than what's being proposed, but city leaders say there's just not enough money.
Who will the federal Corps of Engineers side with?
"All of us would like to see Lake Olmstead be what it used to be. Unfortunately, we don't have the money," said Commissioner Donnie Smith.
City leaders are applying for a permit to dredge Rae's Creek, Lake Almond and a small portion of Lake Olmstead.
"It was a bait and switch. Now we're going back and changing the focus. If that needs to be done, it needs to be done through different funds," said Kim Sidey, VP of The Lakemont Neighborhood Association.
His groups want even more of Lake Olmstead cleaned out.
"This is where this lake used to start. I don't think it's been 20 years since it's been dredged last," Sidey said.
"This is where we want to start. We have a limited amount of SPLOST funds that was passed in 2009," Smith said.
And $4 million is designated for cleanup.
"Some of the property owners have some genuine concerns about silting and a lot of muck that has formed in front of their houses," Sidey said.
They want the city to pull the permit, reapply and put more of Lake Olmstead in the plans.
Smith says that makes the process a lot longer.
"We can try to identify another revenue source to do more of Lake Olmstead. Then we won't have to go through the permitting process again," Smith said.
The water battle continues. Sidey plans to get enough signatures signed to stop the process. The Corps of Engineers will give the public a chance to voice their concerns.
"I think it is a matter of seeing if people's hearts are really into this, it's just not one or two people on a board," Sidney said.
"The Corps told us to put this all as one permit. They want us to do all the prep work at one time," Smith said.