Members of the Hyde Park community are upset that three full-time employees could be paid out of their relocation fund. (WRDW-TV / March 14, 2012)
News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, March 14, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- People living in Hyde Park are living in limbo. They know they'll be moving out of their contaminated neighborhood, but Augusta commissioners are split on whether to hire three full-time employees to work in the Hyde Park relocation office.
Those employees would be paid out of the money set aside to help relocate all those people and residents aren't happy. The city would pay each of these employees $20,000 a year for five years plus overtime. That equals a minimum of $300,000.
Residents of Hyde Park voiced their concerns about a plan to hire new employees to help them relocate.
"I don't think it's right," said resident Nellie Booker.
Three new employees for five years, but it's not the employees the people are worried about. It's where the money to pay them will come from.
"Why should we take money out of the budget and give it to other people to hire them to help us move? That is wrong," said resident Anthony Williams.
But commissioners say these employees will benefit the neighborhood and the relocation process.
"These people are gonna be committed and dedicated to the needs of the people. Of course, everybody's need is different in Hyde Park. It's not one person alike," said Commissioner Corey Johnson
Some residents agree having these employees working right here in the neighborhood will help the relocation along.
"I mean it'll be good if they hire somebody as long we make sure that we get paid our share of the money," said resident Carrie Williams.
But many said they don't understand why the employees need to be paid with the money set aside for their relocation.
"If they take money out of the budget, what we gonna have left to move?" Booker said.
Commissioners said costs like these come with any big project.
"You gotta have administrative fees in anything you do and this is just part of it," Johnson said.
He also said the fees are a sign that the project is moving along.
"They should be celebrating because now this is truly about to happen. The process is on the way and we mean business," Johnson said.
But that is little comfort for the residents who are still uncertain about having enough money to leave the place they've called home for all these years.
The commission is planning to discuss this further at the meeting on Tuesday.