AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta’s streetlight program loses money every year and is now facing a nearly $3M shortfall.
“I don’t have any one answer for it, but we got to get rid of this deficit and make things work,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Bobby Williams.
The proposal is to increase residential fees from $85 to $100, business fees would also go up.
But for the first time even those without lights in their area and who are not being billed now, would pay the fee.
“They’ll eventually get streetlights in their area because we’ll generate enough funds over time that we could provide more streetlights,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.
Right now, in the old city, streetlight fees come from property taxes, the plan would be to charge the fee but give property owners a tax reduction, but this would be a big benefit to those with higher tax bills.
“You take a five-million-dollar property their going to pay 42 extra dollars what they’re paying now they’re going to get a nearly $2000 tax reduction so to me this does not make sense whatsoever,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.
The Engineering committee agreeing the proposal isn’t ready to move forward voting to send it back to the streetlight subcommittee to work out the details.
Also, not ready to move forward is the proposed non-discrimination ordinance, a commission committee voting to create a working group to suggest improvements and report back in two months.