AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF) The litter, the illegal dumping, all those signs in the right of way Commissioner Sean Frantom called it the city’s number one issue, an issue the city is slowly starting to address.
“It’s definitely a culture change we’ve never focused on cleaning up Augusta you see these different departments focused on it they see what it’s going to take to clean it up,” said Frantom.
To get rid of these signs commissioners approved creating a new fine system that allow code officers to write tickets instead of hauling violators to court.
“It’s like a speeding ticket the concept is kind of like a speeding ticket you’ve got a choice you get a speeding ticket you can either pay the fine or you can go to court to fight it,” said Director of Planning and Development Melanie Wilson who’s department oversees code enforcement.
But a commission committee said no to Wilson’s 150 thousand dollar proposal to hire three new code officers to step up enforcement on violators.
“Without the extra people I think we do our jobs you just can’t do quite as much,” said Wilson.
The Marshal’s office is reorganizing to crack down on violators; however the department’s request for two additional enforcement deputies to investigate chronic illegal dumping was turned down.
“When you start getting into right of ways and illegal dumping a lot more work investigated has to go into it that’s where we felt we could get a little more bang for the buck if we had those two additional people,” said Chief Deputy Marshal Scott Peebles.
But when it comes to a city cleanup there’s always next year.
“I knew going into this we couldn’t get it fixed overnight out budget is constrained to what it is I think it starts a good discussion for the 2018 budget,” said Frantom.
The plan also call for anti-littering education as well as training sessions for property managers on how to keep up their property to keep it from falling into violation.
Those sessions were to be held twice a year but that’s not going to happen because funding wasn’t approved.