News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Can you afford $6 a month? That is the stormwater fee Augusta commissioners will consider at Tuesday night's meeting.
Flooding is becoming a real problem around town. Some say a new fee is the last thing we need. Others say it is long overdue.
Rudolph Brown has proof the city has problems with flooding. He caught home video of downtown Augusta streets covered in deep waves of flood water.
That was back in August, but the family's home still sports signs of flooding.
"It's awful because we have to back and redo the house and remodel and mop up all that water," he said.
Anytime the forecast calls for rain, Brown calls on a higher being.
"Oh God, don't wish it on me. Don't wish it on me," he said.
Commissioner Alvin Mason is pushing for a stormwater fee of at least $6 a month to tackle a problem years in the making.
"And in 2012 there are folk who can't even flush their toilet for fear that it will come back up through the water," Mason said.
Even still, not everyone's on board, including Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles.
"It's just tax, tax, tax, and we are going to run people out of the city," he said.
Mason notes surrounding counties already have a stormwater fee.
"They're doing it in North Augusta, and everybody is clapping about how well North Augusta is doing. They are doing it in Columbia County, and people are flocking out to Columbia County trying to live," he said.
Brown can't help feeling it's the time the city wades into the stormwater fee as well.
"And I'm not just saying that because I was a victim. I'm saying that because the next time it could be you," Brown said. "They need to do something."