AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Overgrown grass on city property is an issue city leaders desperately want to get a handle on.
“If you look at the condition of our city, whatever we have been doing is not working. It’s not working. It’s not efficient,” said Mayor Garnett Johnson.
To improve efficiency, city leaders are discussing the interim administrators’ plan to put all city grass cutting under the Central Services Department.
But commissioners hearing from the Recreation Department saying no because its maintenance workers do other duties.
And from the Engineering Department, their saying the plan would make grass cutting less efficient and more expensive, not what some commissioners were expecting.
“It was a disaster obviously. There wasn’t buy in from the department heads on the resizing plan. Each of them voiced their concerns and their displeasures,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.
But others were not surprised by the department head reactions.
“I knew going into this that it would not be favored. Any time you talk about reallocating resources, whether it’s human capital or financial capital, there’s going to be push back,” said Interim Administrator Takiyah Douse.
What is hurting grass cutting in Augusta is a shortage of inmate crews.
The warden says he has seven open positions meaning there are not guards needed to supervise the crews, and there is a recommendation to increase the pay to hire and retain the officers.
“What it will give us is an opportunity to meet the demands of the citizens out there when it comes down to performing these tasks that need to be done,” said Commissioner Tony Lewis.
City leaders agree there is a problem.
They can see it, but they don’t agree on the best way to solve it.