AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – As Mayor Johnson’s time in charge continues, so does his goal of making Augusta a better place.
He told members of the Augusta Exchange Club that doing that starts with taking pride in living here.
“We’ve lost confidence in calling ourselves Augustans. So I feel strongly that we have to grow our confidence to once again be prideful of living here,” said Mayor Garnett Johnson.
He discussed several things that have happened since he took office. One of which was the cyber attacks on the city’s computer systems, which rocked the city for weeks.
The mayor says that all power has been restored, but the investigation is ongoing.
He also talked about the need for more economic development, especially regarding the tax base. Johnson says he would like to see more houses, businesses, and more opportunities for those that live in this area.
Johnson also addressed that the search for a permanent city administrator continues. Interim Administrator Takiyah Douse has served for close to 20 months, but the mayor said that commissioners are ready to move forward.
He also mentioned the ongoing backlash about sky-high property assessments in recent weeks. To that, Mayor Johnson says that “help is on the way”.
Augusta commissioners recently voted to have a conversation to have a full Milledge rate rollback. The meeting for that vote will be on August 29th.
But despite the negatives, he says things are looking up for Augusta, which has drawn attention from the white house.
“President Biden gave me a call himself, to offer an opportunity for Augusta to be one of 5 cities in what he considers the Biden-Harris hub workforce initiative. That’s exciting in that we face the challenges of creating high paying jobs for Augusta,” said Johnson.
Augusta was one of 5 cities across America to be selected for this initiative. The other cities include Baltimore, Maryland, Phoenix, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Columbus, Ohio.
He’s calling on those at the exchange club and the community to make a difference–big or small.
But he says it won’t happen if the city doesn’t come together in unity to do so.
“I thought this would be a part-time job, but I found out this is a full-time job, and then some,” said Johnson. “So I need your help.”
“If you travel around the state, if you go to Savannah, Columbus, Macon, we gotta get something going in Augusta. It’s time to put race aside, it’s time to put politics aside, it’s time to put these cliques aside, these groups and factions. Let’s get Augusta winning first. Let’s get on Augusta’s team.”
Mayor Johnson says some of the best ways you can contribute are picking up trash on the streets to make the city cleaner, and other little things that can sometimes make the biggest impact.