A new Augusta storm water tax could be on the way

By: Ryan Houston Email
By: Ryan Houston Email

Crews are busy cutting nine trees down this week along Highland Avenue. All the recent rain is affecting trees and storm drains across the area. Augusta's Engineering Department is out of money and can't keep up with the work load.

City leaders are considering a possible storm water tax to be the answer. "Anything that old, it's a shame to see it go," said Neighbor Bill Davis.

Bill Davis lives near Highland Avenue where nine diseased trees are coming down. He hates to see them go but says its necessary.

"The trees have been kind of gaped out in the middle. They were dying and we knew it would be a matter of time," said

Projects like this where the city is cutting down trees could have to wait. They've already run out of money and the year isn't over. "Currently we do not have the money right now, " said Augusta's Engineering Department Director Abie Ladson.

The job on Highland is costing the city $13,000. Last year they spent more than $600,000 on trimming the trees and cleaning out storm drains. The damage on Mims Road will cost around $700,000. Add it all up and it's putting a strain on the budget.

"Like I say if we had the funding, we could get a lot done. Our biggest obstacle right now is money,"said Ladson.

"When it rains like this people don't use as much water. It does affect our sales," said Augusta Utilities Director Tom Wiedmeier.

All this rain is causing a slight dip in revenue for the Augusta Utilities Department. For June, they're down 10 percent compared to last year and July is projecting a double digit decrease as well.

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