Committee nixes more money to battle blight

Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic
Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic

Augusta,Ga (WJBF)  Abandoned structures are stains on garden city neighborhoods and Commissioner Bill Lockett says they need to be gone whatever it takes.

“This needs to be a collective effort we all talk about what we want Augusta Richmond County to look like so now let’s do something about it now we’re in a good position to something about it,” said Commissioner Bill Lockett.

Lockett waiting the Finance Committee to approve a transfer of one million dollars from contingency to take down abandoned structures, a move the committee did not approve.

“It’s not going to help the cause we already got a program in place it needs to be left in place without trying to make it bigger and better,” said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle who Chairs the committee.

Though there are hundreds of blighted buildings around Augusta commissioners did approve $900 thousand dollars last year for demolitions and approved another four hundred thousand, so opponents say money is available for demolitions.

“We’re already putting one point three million when you figure  the 900 and the four hundred because what’s the solution on the back end we tear down all these buildings we still have to keep them clean,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.

“I can’t support that right now if we do have a surplus then I think we need to  have discussions about either trying to give  something back to the taxpayers or put that into reserves,” said Commissioner Mary Davis.

At the rate we’re going now we’re fighting a losing battle we take down ten there’s twenty others that need to come down,” said Commissioner Lockett.

But Finance officials pointing out today that the city actually did not end  last year with a real surplus saying the  two and a half million dollars was the result of the decision to dedicate a yearly portion of  2014 tax increase to  building  back the  reserves spent on  the ice storm.

and a one time, one point four million dollar check from FEMA so they said the budget really  came out even last year.

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