AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — City leaders hear it all the time, complaints about how Augusta looks. 

“Apparently, it’s a much bigger and complex problem that most of us on the commission were fully aware of,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Brandon Garrett. 

Commissioners heard from the Planning Department on the challenges of enforcing code violations, from a shortage of staff due to pay, and potential years-long delays in the courts.  

But code enforcement is proposing changes to make it easier to crack down on repeat and chronic property violators. Commissioner Sean Frantom wants to start with the growing problem with businesses in the area of Washington Road and I-20.

“I think if we shut down one hotel in the corridor of Washington Road, I think it would make a huge impact, people would know we mean business. Right now, it’s the wild, wild west. I don’t think we are enforcing it the way we should,” said Commissioner Frantom.

Others say the Planning Department should be out of the enforcement business.  

“I would actually look at trying to put code enforcement underneath the Marshal’s Department because they go hand in hand, you got a lot of experience from the Marshal side,” said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.  

But planning is also coming with a kinder approach, kicking off today a program called ‘Supply and Comply’ where certain property owners will be able to get yard care tools, if they are cited for overgrowth.

“I think it’s a great program when we’re asking out citizens to take care of their properties, we can’t police them we have to make sure they have the tools available to help themselves and the reality is everybody can’t afford a lawn mower, everybody can’t afford a blower,” said Commissioner Jordan Johnson.

This is the latest effort for the city to take on issues of blight, however it will likely not be the last.