As city collects $10M in storm water fees, many wonder if money is going down the drain

Friday, Oct. 11, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Augusta has collected $10 million in storm water fees this year, and we know who is footing the bill.

On one hand, someone must get paid to make sure there's proper drainage, but is the program effective?

That $10 million figure was not the number Burnett Eunice was expecting to hear Commission reveal, considering their drainage issues.

“The water will come up over the sidewalk, towards the sidewalk, we step in the water to get to the house,” Eunice said. “The water gets very high.”

So are these fees working?

"We're doing 123 projects for the total of the amount of monies either spent or encumbered,” Augusta engineer Oscar Flight said.

In simple terms, even though you might not see crews actively unclogging, clearing, or sweeping, the city uses much of the tax money for big improvement projects for the long run.

The Eunices know a lot about the long run since they've been married for 48 years. They've been in Augusta for 34 and they've seen a lot of city tax cycles together. But they'd also like to see it on their street.

Right now, engineering is only doing about four clearing cycles a year. They may add 2 more to help stop drains from drowning in trash and overgrowth.

"We're probably not complaining enough, so we'll start complaining from this point on,” Eunice said.

We're in year three of the storm water program, and at year five, the city is required to do a formal review.

But with this year's budget talks just a month around the corner, commissioners want to figure out now how to make sure your storm water tax doesn't go down the drain.

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