New streetlight fees could mean new bill for thousands

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Lots of land, in south Richmond County, lots of streets, not many streetlights but proposals on the table would have residents out here paying the same as those where streetlights are plentiful.

Mike Padgett Highway and Bennock Mill Road area you see traffic but not a lot of streetlights.

“No, it’s not and there are a lot of wrecks out this way we could benefit from more lights out here we could,” said Cal Carroll, who lives in the area.

One of the goals of the city streetlight subcommittee is getting more lights in Augusta but first there’s a 3-million-dollar shortfall that needs to be eliminated, that has city leaders proposing a new fee one hundred dollars a year for residential property 150 for commercial properties.

And that fee would go across all of Augusta-Richmond County.

“We’re not looking to divide Richmond County into rural or west of north we’re talking streetlights throughout Augusta Richmond County that is very simple we want all roads to be safe,” said Commissioner Sammie Sias.

Three years ago, the city changed residential rates to a flat 85 dollars a year, for some homeowners near Lake Olmstead that added up to about a sixty dollar a year increase now it could be going up another 15 dollars.

But residents like Cal Carroll who don’t get a street light bill didn’t pay anything but that could change under the new proposal because the current fee system doesn’t cover the costs of keeping the lights on.

“There’s still a shortfall we’re still not collecting enough revenue to pay for the system we currently have,” said Traffic Engineer John Ussery.

And that could mean a new streetlight bill for areas where there aren’t any. 

“I don’t think we should we don’t have many out there way never paid for it before I don’t know why we should start paying for it now if they want to bring more lights out make it functionable I’m find with that,” said Carroll.

The commission streetlight committee is still working some suggesting instead of a one size fits all approach something could be tiered in to cover the costs of streetlights.


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