Fees for streetlights in Augusta could rise for thousands

Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic
Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic

AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF) In many Augusta neighborhood if there are streets there’s going to be street lights.

But that’s not always true in some new neighborhoods where a majority of residents must first okay them.

“It’s a necessity, it’s not anything that we should bargain for, it isn’t anything people should take for granted,” said Althea Morgan, who’s moving into a new home.

“Street lights are a public safety issue, and it’s time for the government, to step up and take care of that issue,” says Commissioner Sammie Sias.

Street lights are posing a problem for Augusta leaders with this sub-committee working on changing the rules to get more of the city lit up.

Another pressing issue   is the streetlight street programs debt, fee payments are coming up hundreds of thousands of dollars a year short over the last few years.

“We are continuing running deficits, in 15,it was 4789 thousand dollars, in 16 it was 719 thousand dollars,” says Finance Director Donna Williams.

So the subcommittee is considering a flat fee of 100 dollars for home owners and 200 dollars for businesses, this would bring in enough to cover the costs of the program, and more than a million a year to maintain and add to the street light system.

“So this would bring parity as far as everybody paying the same percentage for street lights

But could result in thousands of Augustans paying a lot more for street lights.

“It could also be a decrease for thousands of people, so the bottom-line we’re trying to balance it out make it fair and because everybody uses the streets,” said Commissioner Sias.

Residents in the old city,the Urban Services, area, pay for street lights in their property taxes not a line item fee, but finance officials say if the full commission approves this they would also pay the 100 dollar fee, as for new neighborhoods the proposal calls for mandating street lights and not making them optional.

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