Commissioners clash over river consultants


When it comes to Lock and Dam Augusta leaders do not want to go with the flow.

The Corp of Engineers wants to remove the structure, Augusta Commissioners want to fix it up and some believe the city should not be  making the case alone.

“I don’t think this is a good thing to do to go into this without experts knowledge and experience,” says Commissioner Dennis Williams.

Tuesday Commissioners sent back to committee a proposal to increase the budget for its river consultants  to help the city make the case to the Corp of Engineers.

 This could mean another delay of ten days or more  before they can get to work  even though the public comment period for  Lock and Dam  is already underway.

“They’re not leaving them much wiggle room and I would think if it was something this important they would make sure they had those  professionals with enough time to do their job,” says Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus. 

The Savannah Riverkeeper recommended the consultants be hired last summer, but now some commissioners say a local firm should be brought in. 

“Cranston Engineering did a lot of work back in 2012 on Lock and Dam they did an inspection I think they have the expertise they could really help us out,” says Commissioner Brandon Garrett. 

 “Not a bad idea we might have to be  open to that in the near future,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Sean Frantom. 

“We have somebody who has some knowledge already of the river and the working of the river because of the project they were working on why would we go through all of this to bring in new bodies,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams. 

 Commissioners are scheduled to take up the consultants Tuesday,in committee  but unless there’s a special called meeting the earliest they could   finalize a vote to put them to work would be March 5th, the day before the Corps scheduled public hearing on Lock and Dam. 

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