Augusta Commission Committee Tosses Cold Water On Utilities Depa - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Augusta Commission Committee Tosses Cold Water On Utilities Department's Planned Move

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Augusta, GA -

"It's part of Meghann Williams routine, when it comes time to pay her water bill she comes to the Municipal building to pay it. "I like to feel that I'm running an errand, it reminds me to always do it I know when I pay it I know when it needs to be done so I like to walk in here and do it," said Williams.

But, with renovations coming to the Augusta Municipal Building, the customer service office is going to be moved out.

Augusta Utilities Department officials believe a good location for a replacement is the ANIC building on Laney Walker Boulevard. The plan is to buy it for $1.7 million and make it the new place for customers to pay water bills, instead of the Municipal Building.  

"It might serve our customers better than the Municipal Building here. People coming in just to pay a water bill have to go through security. It was somewhat an inconvenience for them, I think that's a good location for us," says Augusta Utilities Department director Tom Wiedmeier.

But, some Commissioners disagree on spending $1.7 million for a customer service center building.

"We can find some place much cheaper that satisfies the needs, of this community fiscally and customer service-wise and it doesn't have to be the ANIC building at $1.7 million," says Commissioner Donnie Williams.

The other part of the department moves involves the old library on Greene Street. Here, the department wants to put its administrative offices.

The Utilities Department is paying $15,000 a month in rent for office space at a building on Bay Street, and even though talking book building on the south end of the property would be torn down to create more space, some Commissioners say there's not enough parking at the old library.

"Where are you going to park all the government vehicles now so now are we talking letting us taking them home now to me we should think five years down the road instead of now," says Commissioner Joe Jackson, who chairs the Engineering Committee.

The Engineering Committee basically sent the Utilities Department back to the drawing board opposing both using the ANIC building for  customer service office or the library for the administrative offices.

The priority now for the department is finding a customer service office, because with the renovations of the Municipal Building the office there is scheduled "to be out in September," says Wiedmeier.

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