Library is damaged again by sewage

The main Augusta library has been damaged by sewage backups again, forcing the children's reading section and restrooms to be closed, according to library Director Gary Swint.

 

Sewage backups Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday damaged much of the new carpet that was installed after a major backup in October that supposedly was remedied.

Plumbing work, new carpet and other repairs from that backup cost between $18,000 and $19,000, he said.

"We replaced the old carpet with the cheapest carpet we could find," he said. "Now it's worthless. I don't know what to do."

The plumbing company that cleaned out the lines in October insists the problem was remedied, but it is not, Mr. Swint said.

In October, library board Chairwoman Jane Howington asked Augusta commissioners for an additional $375,595 to the proposed $2.15 million budgeted for the county's main Greene Street library and five branch libraries next year, but that request was not honored. The proposed 2008 budget City Administrator Fred Russell will ask commissioners to adopt today does not have any more funding for the library, Mr. Russell said.

"It's basically a flat funding level," he said.

The proposal does include raises for sheriff's deputies, firefighters and all city employees, Mr. Russell said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Swint said he needs $160,000 more to cover increased wages, utility, health care and other essential costs next year.

The October sewage backups were caused by people flushing tennis shoes, baseball caps and other items down the toilets. The most recent backups occurred despite the restrooms being closed to the public for the past week, Mr. Swint said.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com.

LIBRARY FUNDING

Per capita funding in Georgia cities:

Augusta: $10.85

Macon: $18.50

Savannah: $26

Columbus: $28.79

Source: Richmond County library officials