Commission looks outside for help to combat blight


Behind me is not an unique situation, it’s one of hundred maybe thousands of abandoned structures in Augusta that are code violations, eye sores Augusta city leaders looking to see what other communities are doing to do a better job of combating blight.

No one is living there, no one could but these abandoned blighted properties also make it difficult to have to live near them.

And some believe the city is not doing enough.

“The problem that make it even go farther is there’s not a real working plan no one has been willing to put forth a budget number each year here’s the amount of money we’re going to put in to take care of these blighted properties,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.

“We don’t have the funds that we need this year we have roughly 400 thousand dollars that’s budgeted thinking that will do roughly 35 houses., and we have hundreds that need to be done,” said Rob Sherman, Director of Planning and Development.

Blighted properties is not just an Augusta problem, if affects other communities, Tuesday Commissioners getting a report on what other cities do with their boarded up homes,and Blight.

Savannah has a blight tax, that increases the bill on owners property to get them to either fix it up or sell.

“Do you like the blight tax?”

“No I don’t I’m not in favor of any new tax,” said Commissioner Garrett.

Some City leaders are eyeing a different source of money for demolitions, Federal Community Block Grant funds.

Augusta gets a little more than two million dollars a year.

Augusta has used federal funds in the past for to tear down blight but there are strict guidelines.

‘There’s a lot of red tape and strings attached to it I think if the house if over fifty years old it has to go through the state historic review board environmental clearance there’s a lot of steps,” said Director Sherman.

Augusta leaders requesting a copy of code enforcement report to study what other communities are doing but as Mayor Davis says this didn’t happen overnight, and the solution is also not going to happen over night, in Augusta George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6.

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