Augusta, GA -
Behind the gate, it's in there, and residents of Summerchase say they want it out. “It's a mess in there, we need it cleaned up,” said Louise Hicks, a resident.
Summerchase is like a lot of Augusta neighborhoods, in that it suffered extensive limb damage from last month's ice storm.
"My neighbor’s tree fell on my property and I have all the debris in my yard and I'm not happy,” said Gabriele Wade.
But, Summerchase is different from other neighborhoods. It's a private gated community and city officials say the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) frowns on reimbursing for storm cleanup on private property. But, Summerchase is still part of the city, with residents paying water bills and garbage fees.
“I feel like anybody who's paying property taxes deserves the right that anybody else has,” says Wade.
City officials are planning to change direction in Summerchase and pick up the storm debris, but there’s no guarantee FEMA will pick up the tab.
“This is to help our citizens. It is a risk, the town was overwhelmed with this,” says Interim Deputy City Administrator Steve Cassell.
But, missing storm pick-up isn't reserved for gated communities. In deep south Augusta, on Deans Bridge Road, piles of storm debris sit waiting.
“It's been sitting out there, continues to sit out there, and we haven't heard anything about it, when it's going to be picked up, nothing,” said Amy Kitchens, one of the residents with piles of storm damage sitting on the right-of-way.
This is because Deans Bridge Road is a state route and it's the state's job to pick up the storm damage here.
“It's a state route, it's not our right-of-way. The state has responsibility of that roadway,” says Cassell.
But, along that state route, there is the wish the city would treat them like a gated community. “The gated communities have more options than we do. We're rural, if they're going to do [it] there, why not here,” Kitchens said.
Cassell says Augusta is working on an agreement with the state to get the limbs picked up, if the state would cover the city’s costs above the FEMA reimbursement. City officials say the state has not agreed to that, but has said it would take care of the debris on state routes.