News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, March 11, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta commissioners haven't made their minds up with what to do about overgrown vacant lots. They took on the issue during Monday's committee meeting.
Mixed crews of city employees and prisoners are currently doing the job.
Clearing the city's overgrown, trash-filled and vacant lots are a full-time job.
"We cut 127 yards now, and the demand exceeds that," said Director of Environmental Services Mark Johnson.
Johnson says he would like to hire a private contractor to help his department. It would cost the city more than $100,000.
"I'm not opposed to it, but I can't vote for $108,000. I don't know how many will be cut and who will do the work," said Commissioner Marion Williams.
"It's additional money, but the money exceeds our ability to deliver," Johnson said.
Commissioner Williams says the city should use more inmate labor.
"The prisoner aspect is not free. It sounds good to just let the inmates do it, but you have to feed them, clothe them and give them the tools," said City Administrator Fred Russell.
"People see the city before anything else. How you view the city will make up your mind about what goes on inside the city," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.
It seems like the commissioners' goal of making Augusta more beautiful will have to wait just a bit longer.