Summerville, other Augusta neighborhoods look at splitting off into separate city

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 11:15 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Summerville residents and people in surrounding neighborhoods will get together to consider whether they should become a separate city.

We spoke with a local attorney who lives there. Residents say lower taxes and an increase in public safety are just a few reasons why taxpayers in the Summerville, Forest Hills, and surrounding neighborhoods are pitching a plan for a new city within a city.

“The question is imposed as to why,” said attorney Wright McLeod.

The answer being ...

“Simply a belief that our current form of local government, the county government, is too bloated, it’s too inefficient, it costs too much. We don’t receive a level of benefit that we should receive for the amount of taxes that are paid,” said McLeod.

Driving on the hill where McLeod lives, a change could be on the horizon.

“Can we do it? Should we do it? And right now, we don’t know the answer to that, but we’re gonna figure it out,” he said.

If this sounds unlikely, think again. McLeod says it’s been done before.

“Right now, we’re using the name Summerville only because Summerville used to be a city back in the 1860s through 1912,” said McLeod.

It’s a lengthy process to form a city, taking two years minimum.

It’s also an expensive one, costing up to $300,000 between a feasibility study and campaigns for cityhood.

“My goal is just to try to begin the process of determining whether or not there is enthusiasm and support for the creation of a new municipality. And then to begin the studying of the process of whether that really is the best thing for the citizens of Richmond County,” he said.

McLeod says his plan is just one alternative to a bunch of solutions.

“So in theory, if this works, then our tax dollars go further. The government is less bloated. The government is more representative of the people,” he said.

Anyone wanting to talk or hear more about the Village of Summerville’s path to cityhood can attend a meeting Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Social building at 207 Elkdom Court.