AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Now that the swearing-in is over, Augusta’s new mayor said he’s ready to get to work.

There’s a new leader in the 2nd floor office of the municipal building in Augusta.

“We live here in Richmond County, we work here, we want people to be prideful in calling themselves Augustans,” said Garnett Johnson, Augusta Mayor.

The native said he’s ready to take the Garden City to the next level. Johnson has already shared that he wants a clean city with little taxpayer dollars. But he’s also making economic growth a priority.

“In the past 10 years, our population has been very stagnant in that we’ve only grown by three percent. Our neighbors have grown exponentially, not only faster, but they’ve grown bigger,” he said of nearby cities.

One place he wants to improve is South Augusta. That’s where he says he intentionally put a campaign office. But he’s hoping to make it more livable.

Mayor Johnson said there are, “Beautiful neighborhoods, beautiful communities, beautiful citizens, but unfortunately when it comes down to restaurant eating, lifestyle amenities for some reason, they’ve been left behind. It’s my task and my challenge to make sure we make improvements there.”

Despite talks about transparency in the past, Johnson said he began working on openness day one. And he plans to abide by an open office policy too. He’s dedicated to remaining above board with his business, Augusta Office Solutions, getting help from his wife to run the company while he spends eight hours a day or more as mayor.

“I have a great wife that’s joined me in the business and she’s responsible for the day to day and we have a phenomenal team down there,” he said adding that he will have to work some evenings as mayor too.

As for crime and infrastructure, he wants improvements there, too, noting Augusta needs to address its rapid crime issue, something he addressed with several new mayors at the White House with President Biden.

He’s also hoping to fix roadways, including Wrightsboro Road near Daniel Village.

When it comes to education, he said it desperately needs help, hoping the faith-based community and parents can join the school system in making it better. He said education is tied to economic growth too.

“If newly relocated residents don’t have the confidence in our school system, they’re going to voluntarily elect to move someplace else.”

Overall, Mayor Johnson wants to restore the pride the Garden City once had, even outside of Masters Week.