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Flood relief on way, for a fee

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For Augustans who've forded flooded roads or their own yards and basements after recent record rainfalls, a city solution to the problem is well underway.

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Water rushes down a storm drain on Reynolds Street after heavy storms struck the area last Wednesday.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Water rushes down a storm drain on Reynolds Street after heavy storms struck the area last Wednesday.

Last year, the Augusta Com­mission approved the first 25 steps of a 14-year plan to implement a new “stormwater fee” to fund maintenance and repair of the city's vast network of catch basins, ditches, ponds and pipes.

The engineering department is completing some of the initial inventory work, and on May 16 it issued a request for qualifications from engineering or consulting firms to catalog, map and analyze the system, including stormwater quality as required by federal laws.

City Engineering Director Abie Ladson, whose duties will soon include administering projects funded by the transportation sales tax, said only by assessing the entire stormwater system can drainage issues be properly addressed.

“You might see flooding on Broad Street,” for instance, “but the problem may be a half-mile upstream,” Ladson explained.

A May 30 request for qualifications seeks another engineering or consulting firm to develop a “stormwater utility program” based on the data collected, including developing a fee structure based on a property's square feet of impervious surface, and implementing billing, with a first bill sent to property owners in June 2014.

For a typical homeowner, the fee of $5 or $6 a month will likely appear on their water bill, Ladson said. Though the commission has approved the project's first phases, it still must OK charging the fees to homeowners.

The engineering department anticipates resistance from private owners of large expanses of impervious surfaces, such as shopping mall parking lots, runways and large churches, which will not be exempt from the fees, Ladson said.

“We're hoping that they become partners,” he said. “We're going to try to make it a team effort, not just the city, but to get citizens to see the plan and give comments, before we implement the thing.”

Ladson expects the fee to generate $10 million a year. Once funded, the city can immediately tackle long-standing infrastructure maintenance issues, such as corrugated metal piping in south Augusta that fails frequently, he said.

“A lot of those pipes are failing, but we don't have the funds to replace them,” he said.

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nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 07/08/13 - 04:21 am
10
0
2 questions to put it in perspective.

What happen to the maintenance $$$ built into the budget and water bill fees? Did some elected political group shift the funds around over the years.

------------------------------
We'll Tax his land,
We'll tax his wages,
We'll Tax his roof or his hoof.
We'll Tax his truck,
We'll tax his bike,
We'll Teach him taxes is now the rule.
We'll tax his pets and if he frets we'll tax his winning from his bets.
We'll have a Dirt tax, a Rain tax and are working on a way to tax Sunshine.
If he protests or falls behind we stick with a Tax fine.
We'll tax his smokes just to teach him taxes are no joke.
We'll tax his car, tax his grass, even the Tax the roads he must pass.
We'll tax his food, tax his drink, tax him even if he tries to think.
We'll tax his movies, his books, and his newspaper, heck we'll tax his toilet paper.
We'll tax his sodas, tax his beers, if he cries, we'll find a way to tax his tears.

We'll tax his bills, tax his gas, Tax his savings, and then tax his cash.
We'll tax him good and let him know that after taxes, he has should have no dough.

An if he hollers, We'll tax him more, tax him until he's good and sore.
We'll tax his coffin,
We'll tax his grave,
We'll tax the sod in which he lays.

Once he is bury and long gone We'll tax his estate to get one last take.

Privy
106
Points
Privy 07/08/13 - 04:23 am
7
0
Hmm, before consolidation

Hmm, before consolidation there were crews on regular routes cleaning catch basins and checking the storm water lines. Consolidation blah!

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 07/08/13 - 04:45 am
9
0
This one statement sums it up for the South Side

"Ladson ... Once funded, the city can immediately tackle long-standing infrastructure maintenance issues, such as corrugated metal piping in south Augusta that fails frequently, he said.

So 60+% of the taxpayers must wait for Downtown to get what it wants before they can get the same level of service that they had BEFORE Consolidation?

How's that Consolidation working for you South Side?
Had enough yet?

All it takes is a petition to get a referendum vote?
It all electronic voting now, not like they need 5 months notice to print up ballots before the next election.

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 07/08/13 - 04:51 am
7
0
While I am ranting about taxes

Want to bet I miss between 12 to 36 common taxes.
Tax and Spend has to End.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Sales Tax
State Income Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring & Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 110 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle
class in the world, and Mom's stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?

What is the Etymology of the word "politics"
Poly - many Tics - Blood sucking creatures

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 07/08/13 - 05:35 am
0
0
110 years ago we did not police the world. Nuff said.
Unpublished

110 years ago we did not police the world. Nuff said.

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 07/08/13 - 05:36 am
0
0
Your forgot the World Economic Stabilization Tax
Unpublished

Your forgot the World Economic Stabilization Tax

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 07/08/13 - 05:37 am
0
0
You forgot the World Military Stabilization Tax
Unpublished

You forgot the World Military Stabilization Tax

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 07/08/13 - 05:38 am
0
0
You forgot the Buy Off Our Enemies Tax.
Unpublished

You forgot the Buy Off Our Enemies Tax.

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 07/08/13 - 05:55 am
0
0
CC still has flooding with Rain Tax and Rain Tax Deux.
Unpublished

CC still has flooding with Rain Tax and Rain Tax Deux.

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 07/08/13 - 05:56 am
0
0
Who stole the maintenance money? The usual suspects.
Unpublished

Who stole the maintenance money? The usual suspects.

corgimom
38321
Points
corgimom 07/08/13 - 06:03 am
7
1
The infrastructure in Augusta

The infrastructure in Augusta has been crumbling for years, this is the result of 30 years of neglect.

The money for the empty TEE Center could've gone a long way to repair some of these problems.

Get used to it, Augusta is in a fiscal crisis and this has been coming for years. More money will be needed, this isn't all of it.

But if they have approved "the first 25 steps", just how many steps are there?

corgimom
38321
Points
corgimom 07/08/13 - 06:12 am
2
8
But nocnoc, your list isn't

But nocnoc, your list isn't altogether accurate.

People used to be taxed on such things as land, horses, cattle, and number of closets in a house.

People also used to be taxed on the number of slaves that they owned.

And people used to be taxed on the spirits that they distilled.

There was a poll tax. Imports were taxed. Crops were taxed.

And during the Civil War, income taxes were imposed. There's a long history of taxes in the US.

"To deliver these new revenues, Congress passed a whole new set of excise taxes on July 1, 1862 on things like yachts, pool tables, pianos, telegrams, feathers, leather, iron, playing cards, gunpowder, feathers, telegrams, iron, leather, drugs, whiskey and patent medicines."

There has always been a need for money to run the government and provide municipal services.

wagoss
64
Points
wagoss 07/08/13 - 06:12 am
5
0
I wonder if the city will now

I wonder if the city will now take care of all of the water coming off the road onto my property. That's where the problem is, not the water that lands on my roof and driveways.

corgimom
38321
Points
corgimom 07/08/13 - 06:15 am
1
9
And there has always been a

And there has always been a national debt. I don't know where you get your information, nocnoc, but it's not accurate.

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 07/08/13 - 06:16 am
0
0
And the continuing tax to fund the Spanish American War.
Unpublished

And the continuing tax to fund the Spanish American War.

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 07/08/13 - 07:49 am
8
0
Nation Debt correction.

Nation Debt Chart
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/11/the-long-story-of-us...

Shows we are both wrong.

1832-37 was almost if not zero debt.
but you are right my statement about zero 110 years ago was wrong also.

In the last century the Federal deficit was negative (below tax intake) from about:
1900 to 1915.
1920-1930
1948-1950 and 1956 -1958
1998-2001

Regarding taxes.
Yes we need sensible, logical taxes.
But can American handle too many more 1.4 Billion dollar bombers or continue with 24% healthcare (even more under Obama Care), 11% for Welfare, when we only spend 3% on Education?
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/welfare_budget_2012_4.html

Do would you say we are at the correct level now, (48% combined taxes), passed it generations ago (at 12% combined taxes), Or would you say we need more taxes?

nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 07/08/13 - 07:52 am
6
2
Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 07/08/13 - 09:10 am
6
0
exempt

I should be exempt, I pay $950 a year in flood insurance, the price is controlled by FEMA. When did raising taxes become so popular anyway? Why are people ok with this???????? Oh, most of them don't pay but somebody does.

Little Lamb
48966
Points
Little Lamb 07/08/13 - 09:36 am
5
0
Homeowners against business owners

From the story:

A May 30 request for qualifications seeks another engineering or consulting firm to develop a “stormwater utility program” based on the data collected, including developing a fee structure based on a property's square feet of impervious surface, and implementing billing, with a first bill sent to property owners in June 2014. For a typical homeowner, the fee of $5 or $6 a month will likely appear on their water bill, Ladson said. Though the commission has approved the project's first phases, it still must OK charging the fees to homeowners. The engineering department anticipates resistance from private owners of large expanses of impervious surfaces, such as shopping mall parking lots, runways and large churches, which will not be exempt from the fees, Ladson said.

Let me get this straight, they've send out a request for quote to engineering firms across the state to study the costs and then set up a fee structure. The contract has not been let, much less any data collected, but Ladson has already let the cat out of the bag that a typical bill for a homeowner will be $5 or $6 a month. So the engineering study will be a waste of time if they already know the initial fee.

In the second place, you can bet that there not be a level playing field. Homeowners will pay much more per thousand square feet of impervious surface than businesses will pay. On my typical suburban homesite, I've got less than 3,000 square feet of impervious surface. So at $6 a month, I will pay $2 per thousand square foot.

How many square feet of impervious surface to you suppose Augusta Mall has? If they pay $2 per thousand square foot, their stormwater fee will be substantial. How many square feet does International Paper have? How many does the Marriott Hotel complex have?

You can bet there will be a many-tiered rate structure of this fee. Homeowners will pay more per square foot than any other category. It's the way of Augusta Government.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 07/08/13 - 09:45 am
4
0
$$$

How much does a quote from engineering firms cost? Let's raise rent on public housing residents. See how $6 makes them feel.

itsanotherday1
48271
Points
itsanotherday1 07/08/13 - 10:11 am
4
0
I still contend that existing

I still contend that existing properties have all paid their share in property taxes, etc., and the county has redirected the "maintenance"money to other purposes. The need for infrastructure expansion is caused by NEW construction. Impose one time fees on them based on runoff created.

Edit: Just include it in the cost of the construction permit.

dichotomy
37417
Points
dichotomy 07/08/13 - 07:15 pm
3
0
And what do I......on Old

And what do I......on Old Waynesboro Rd.......get for this "rain tax"???? What do ANY of us in RURAL Southeast Richmond County get for this "rain tax"????

I'll tell you what we get......the privilege of paying for DOWNTOWN infrastructure, and then MAYBE the infrastructure in SOME suburban neighborhoods.........all while we will get the SAME STINKING DITCHES that we have had for decades. We get to watch YOU take OUR MONEY and SPEND IT SOMEWHERE ELSE......AS USUAL. WE WON'T GET DIDDLY SQUAT......NOTHING.......EXCEPT ROBBED BY OUR COMMISSION AND FORCED TO PAY FOR SOMEONE ELSE'S SERVICE AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.

AGAIN, the "City" will STEAL our money and not give us a damned thing for it. A continuing saga of the theft of our money and failure to provide EQUAL SERVICES, EQUAL TAXATION, and EQUAL PROPERTY VALUATION.

District 8 don't need a petition.....it needs a FULL BLOWN REVOLT. The "City" of Augusta is ripping us off for our property tax money, the valuations of our property, our garbage fees, less fire protection, less police protection, less ambulance service, virtually NO road maintenance, and NOW they want to TAX US FOR DITCHES which they have not cleaned in the 17 years since Consolidation. This is what happens when country folks put city dwellers in charge of their taxes and services and then only get 1 commission vote out of the 10 on the commission. The people with REAL storm water piping systems want to thank you country bumpkins for funding THEIR system.

Another TAX brought to you by the "City" of Augusta.....from which you get NOTHING.

Little Lamb
48966
Points
Little Lamb 07/08/13 - 09:39 pm
0
0
Thumbs Up . . .

. . . Dichotomy. I hear you. I believe you. I feel your pain. But Mark Johnson's deal is done - - - a deal with the devil himself → What, me worry?

This rain tax is the most dishonest thing our commission could assent to. But they are mesmerized by the tax and spend administrator.

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