News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, July 24, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Cleanup crews in Augusta are working overtime to remove fallen trees and dead trees. The bad news is city money for cleaning up storm damage has run out. Some say it's making a case for a new stormwater fee.
"Limbs kept falling and I knew that something needed to happen. I do believe some folks were killed by a tree years ago," said business owner Valerie Mundell.
She remembers when 40-year-old Robert Walker was killed in Augusta back in 2007. Walker died after being hit by a tree outside a corner store.
Mundell worried something like that could happened at her bed and breakfast on Greene Street after rain and heavy wind caused a tree to start falling.
"I'm concerned about my guests. They walk right by that tree to other bars and restaurants for entertainment," she said.
The budget for Augusta's storm cleanup is drying up. It's costing the city thousands of dollars to cut down trees. We're told the stormwater fee could help cut down more trees and keep you a little safer.
"The good thing about it is all the nonprofits will be taxed and forced to pay," said Commissioner Joe Jackson.
"If that's what they need to get it done, then do it. The issue is safety and these trees are a hazard," Mundell said.
Until the money is there, more trees that need to come down will have to wait.