SPLOST seen as answer to blight battle

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – City leaders are hearing if you want to battle blight especially abandoned buildings you’re going to need a bigger budget, and for some the potential funding source sits in SPLOST. 

Hundreds of abandoned buildings plague Augusta, many standing for years. City leaders believing it’s time to come up with the money to bring the buildings down.  

“Attract crime activity drug activity and the quality of life is some devastatingly bad,” said Commissioner John Clarke.  

The city’s blight sub-committee is working to streamline code enforcement to take on blight.  

And Last week, commissioners were working on the projects for the next phase of the sales tax, with some suggesting asking the voters for 15 million dollars to beef up the demolition budget. 

“15 million would get us started. We need to get these structures down and we need to replace them,” said Commissioner Bill Fennoy. 

 And with hundreds of dilapidated structures still standing because of not enough money, some are embracing the big dollars for demolitions.  

“I would support 15 million to tear down the houses yes, like I said we talked about it a while back it just makes more sense. You just get rid of all the ones that are raggedy,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams 

But even those supporting efforts to battle blight are not supporting taking such a large chunk of the next SPLOST for demolitions 

“It’s going to take some money I don’t know exactly how much but we need to hold the property owners accountable not the taxpayers for other folks,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.  

“It’s too much when you figure everything out four million four and a half five million tops will take care of everything that we need to take care of,” said Commissioner John Clarke.  

The blight subcommittee is continuing its work it will meet again in a couple of weeks commissioners are scheduled to give final approval to the SPLOST 8 project list October 27th it will be then city leaders decide of much if anything will go to taking down abandoned buildings.

In Augusta, George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6. 

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