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Garbage customers face fee increases in budget plan

Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 4:39 PM
Last updated Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 12:41 AM
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A handful of fee increases lies ahead for garbage customers, many of whom are still smarting from the city’s tumultuous June transition to weekly pickup.

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Tucked into City Administrator Fred Russell's Tuesday balanced budget proposal were a handful of changes to garbage service certain to displease customers already upset about the switch to once-weekly compulsory garbage service.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Tucked into City Administrator Fred Russell's Tuesday balanced budget proposal were a handful of changes to garbage service certain to displease customers already upset about the switch to once-weekly compulsory garbage service.

The increases, part of City Admin­istrator Fred Russell’s latest balanced-budget proposal, include an already-approved fee for unoccupied properties and a proposed 4 percent fee increase and $3 monthly street-sweeping fee for all households.

For $155.25, about half the current annual garbage fee, the unoccupied property fee gives owners of vacant properties yard waste and bulk waste pickup, but no garbage or recycling collection.

It’s a way to encourage absentee owners, who often seek exemptions from the service, to care for their properties, said Deputy En­vi­ron­mental Services Director Lori Videtto.

Another change presented as part of the June garbage contract wasn’t included in 2013 tax bills but will be available next year, Videtto said. A 32-gallon trash can, a third the size of a regular unit, is available for small families at a 25 percent discount, about $233 a year.

“It’s a perfect size for a single person, especially if you are elderly or eat out a lot,” she said.

Perhaps the biggest proposed change is a switch to an all-fee-based system. Cur­rent­ly, garbage customers in the old city limits, about one-third of them, pay part of their bill through a millage assessment that’s tied to their property value. The rest is made up by a $115.50 fee.

The change means those who pay less than the going rate of $310.50 for those outside the old city limits – because of lower property values – will likely see the garbage portion of their bill go up.

“It’s more of a growing pain for those that are benefitting from the old urban area,” Videtto said. “You treat everybody the same.”

A proposed 4 percent increase for garbage, recycling, yard and bulk waste collection would bring the annual fee for garbage collection to $322.92 – $26.91 a month.

Street sweeping is part of the new garbage contract but needs a monthly $3 fee to keep it operating, Videtto said. The fee will ensure a sweeper will pass down each city street at least once a quarter, at an announced time, Videtto said. This will replace the existing system of sweeping streets on an as-needed basis because of limited resources.

“You have some areas that were being swept consistently and some areas that were never being touched,” such as Harris­burg, which enjoyed a sweeping Thursday for the first time most residents could remember.

Though Harrisburg residents spoke to the Augusta Com­mis­sion on Tuesday about the need to crack down on people who litter, the sweeping was already scheduled, Videtto said, and removed thousands of pounds of dirt and debris.

The commission has considered a millage increase that could cost the owner of a $100,000 home as much as $52 more a year in city property taxes. The city’s Engi­neer­ing Department has spent millions developing a stormwater fee program expected to cost homeowners at least that much more based on their square footage of non-draining surface, such as roofs and driveways.

The garbage and property tax increases, the shift to a fee-based system and the storm fee are not yet approved.

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Pops
12507
Points
Pops 11/22/13 - 08:33 pm
5
3
It's getting to

be very complicated to know just what all you owe to be fortunate enough live in Richmond County.....I guess you just have to trust the government....

dichotomy
36291
Points
dichotomy 11/22/13 - 08:58 pm
15
2
Okay, I'm going AWOL. They

Okay, I'm going AWOL. They have lost their freakin' collective tax and spend minds. They have gone TAX and FEE crazy.

About a $100 (for me) increase in property taxes....another $12 or $15 increase in garbage fees.....and I don't know what they hell they are talking about a street sweeping fee because I KNOW they are not going to sweep rural roads.......EVER....but that is another $36 a year on some of us or all of us. I did not really understand the story on that one. .

BUT I DO KNOW MY SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT GOING TO GO UP ENOUGH TO COVER THE PROPERTY TAX AND GARBAGE FEE INCREASE....AND MAYBE A STREET SWEEPING FEE.

YOU DID NOT LISTEN FREDDY......CUT THE DAMNED SPENDING.....NO TAX OR FEE INCREASES. And Mark Johnson.....we've had about enough of your CRAP too. You have gone out of your mind with these damned garbage fees. There are REAL cities out there that are charging ONE HALF of what you are charging us and they give better service. I don't know who the hell you think you are, or if you are on drugs or something, but you need to pack your bags and leave for New York or somewhere. I cannot afford your damned habit.

Everyone needs to get on the phone and on their email Monday morning and constantly call, email, text message, etc. ALL of the commissioners and FREDDY's office ALL DAY EVERY DAY ALL WEEK. We need to MAKE THEIR LIFE MISERABLE LIKE THEY ARE MAKING OUR'S.

Pops
12507
Points
Pops 11/22/13 - 09:36 pm
11
1
I went back and reread that article

I am going to nominate it for the most confusing thing I probably have ever read in the Augusta Chronicle. I am in no way disparaging the reporter. The quotes and information provided by the government mouthpieces is absolutely amazing....they have spin down to a fine art form....they said everything but "CDB'...."Five Guys"...."greenspace"...."gentrification" and many other buzz words I have read on here.......how do you like the old "ARC" now????

rebellious
21419
Points
rebellious 11/22/13 - 10:34 pm
9
0
Hats Off, I think

to Susan McCord for the translation from Razzle Dazzle to individual components. My experience tells me she was cross-eyed after the exercise and did the bess cood be spected.

But, in spite of Ms. McCord's valiant effort to shine through the murky (do air quotes here) "details", I must pull out my Funk and Wagnells to define bulk waste, yard waste, garbage, handful of increases, unoccupied property, vacant property, Urban, absentee owner, city street, encourage, and "those that are benefiting from the old urban area" (you talking to me, Willis?).

And then (take breath here) I must pull out my slide rule and start to work the guzintas and cipher this.
To start, I own two parcels side by each. One occupied with No-Vacancy, the next unoccupied and Vacant. First read says my exemption goes away on property numero duece. I raise your bet by $155. pardner. On the UP side, I can cut trees and clear brush on this forest land and get it hauled off...maybe... if Funk and Wagnells definition of Bulk and Yard waste fits. Might better be defined as yards of bulk waste!

Secondly, I don't eat out a lot, ain't been single for 34 years, and border on elderly. But I do burn all burnable trash in an outdoor pit, clean the fridge by feeding a compost pile, and otherwise reduce the amount of garbage (I think that definition fits) to a small portion weekly (provided my elderly brain remembers to take it to the roadside 50 yards away on the right day of the week). So the 32 gallon bucket proposed in the article is 1/3 of the one I have. Well I spent many a younger day around 55 gallon drums, and if the garbage can I have is 96 gallons, it is one of the best optical illusions I have ever seen. Anyway, back to the math word problem. So If I trade a 96 gallon Herbie Curbie for a 32 gal one,that's like, oh, a 66% reduction in volume of ordures mynagyres (hey that is French for garbage). And my benevolent supplier (translate - government) is going to reduce my tax by 25%. Yea I know...fixed costs and all. But guess what, when I forgot to take the trash can to the road, the truck rode by anyway. Crazy, I know, but .......anyway. Slide rule just broke so gonna pull out the calculator for the next calcumulation. As for this one, I aint feeling the Love for me anyway.

Next calculation = take what you used to pay and multiply by 104. Pay new amount! Get It, Got it, Good! Everybody gets this new benefit.

Now to street sweeping..... I admit I have benefited from logging trucks, mothers late to school, and funloving teenagers exceeding the speed limit for my street sweeping. I feel guilty not compensating someone from this service I have received many a year. However, If I am in the city, looks like if this is passed, I will pay the $36 dollars a year. Kind sounds like a Sally Struthers commercial. With my frontage being at 1060 x 4 times per year = 4240. linear ft. At 10 MPH that will take .. Oh never mind for the moment.

And the last thought til I think of another is, is this before Wayne pushed back or the opposite.

bubbasauce
23036
Points
bubbasauce 11/23/13 - 01:05 am
9
0
I agree 1000% with you

I agree 1000% with you Dichotomy, all this is insane! These imbeciles have to stop this BS, ASAP! Dichotomy for President! We out here in South Augusta need to succeed from Augusta and all this consolidation crap!

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 11/23/13 - 04:07 am
6
0
NO TAX INCREASE!
Unpublished

My fixed income does not allow for tax increases because of these big time spenders in the the city government. I think all landlords of rental property should increase the rental fees for those that vote in the election of these idiots that just spend without concern toward the taxpayers. Renters do not pay property tax, garbage fees, street sweeping and many other taxes that property owners have to pay, yet
the nonpayers have as much say as the payers, by way of their voting habits. I think the city should add a renters tax based on the size of the home. Let's get everyone paying their fair share and maybe we can elect more responsible commissioners that actually respond to the voters that elected them. Maybe we need a new administrator that will make sure the department heads stay in their budget or look for another job. It is time to get everyone that votes to pay taxes!

robert2410
1628
Points
robert2410 11/23/13 - 06:02 am
8
1
If Augusta keeps it up it
Unpublished

If Augusta keeps it up it will resemble Detroit in a few more years. Most people who earn will be moved away and I would truly love to see them collect revenue from whats left. Maybe a crackhead tax? I hate to see what is happening to my native county, particularly the south side where I grew up. Consolidation was the biggest hose job that area has ever received.

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 11/23/13 - 07:22 am
7
0
Keep this up Fred

And you will see MORE rear ends leaving the county.....how do you say STOOOPID in French...Rebel your post was excellento...

justthefacts
24061
Points
justthefacts 11/23/13 - 07:25 am
4
2
Detroit/Augusta??

I am going to have to report robert2410 to harley. Sorry.

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 11/23/13 - 07:29 am
5
1
hahah jtf

I thought the same thing...robert2410 is a daring soul..:)

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 11/23/13 - 07:56 am
9
0
Yep robert to this

Consolidation was the biggest hose job that area has ever received.

and it just keeps on giving..

nocnoc
47366
Points
nocnoc 11/23/13 - 08:34 am
4
0
Garbage is it a FEE or a TAX?

Maybe it is time for ARC voters to put a stop to this spend and tax, spend and tax cycle.

Question:
Are the voters fed up enough to start a Voter Ballot Referendum to cap Taxes, the call dodging the Law Fees, and just plain waste in too many areas.

nocnoc
47366
Points
nocnoc 11/23/13 - 09:03 am
2
0
Dupe mistake corrected

deleted, wish The South Side could delete the Consolidated Mistake as easy.

JRC2024
9998
Points
JRC2024 11/23/13 - 08:39 am
1
0
dickworth1, if you are doing

dickworth1, if you are doing your rent calculations right you should be adding up all the taxes, expected maintance on the property and all other fees and dividing it by 12 to get a monthly cost and adding it to the rental amount. Therefore the renter is paying their portion.

nocnoc
47366
Points
nocnoc 11/23/13 - 08:59 am
4
1
Yet Another Reason For Our T-Minus Posts

Because ARC has a tax and spend addiction.
Because ARC continues to siphon off South Side and West Side taxes to support too many DOWNTOWN pipe dreams, projects, and "Consultants".

Because of the District boundaries are setup to favor DOWNTOWN by
diluting the voter strengths of outside population areas.

Because we just finally managed to sell 2 houses both at $60,000 or more loss from their 1980 R.C. appraised worth (pre-bubble prices).

My Brothers have moved outside ARC, My Sister has moved outside ARC,
even my mother, a 75 year, at the time, resident of Richmond Co. moved outside ARC just after Consolidation. In short of my blood family, only myself has remained here.

Only because of my wife's mother.

These are just a few of the reasons our family has set a date and plan to stick to it or even leave sooner.

This county has become one screwed up mess since Consolidation.

T-MINUS 122 days or LESS
as of 8:37am

dichotomy
36291
Points
dichotomy 11/23/13 - 09:12 am
5
0
This is what happens when you

This is what happens when you Consolidate with a Welfare city and put some downtown welfare lunatics, and a dowtown "progressive" or two in charge of YOUR money.

Street sweeping TAX, rain TAX, outrageous garbage FEE increases. What all of this amounts to is that THEY SEE they have put us on the path to bankruptcy with their lunatic "projects" and the long term bonds they have issued. And we are already pay 3 CITY SPLOST taxes PLUS the Transportation SPLOST. That is 4...FOUR...EXTRA taxes that we are paying them to do what our PROPERTY TAX was supposed to pay for. And regardless of what Freddy says, our PROPERTY taxes are already high....and are being assessed on BOGUS VALUATIONS THAT ARE MUCH HIGHER THAN THE ACTUAL MARKET VALUE.

And now they want a RAIN TAX and a STREET SWEEPING TAX along with a PROPERTY TAX INCREASE. And DINGDONG out at the dump wants to RAPE US for higher garbage fees when the price of labor has been stable and the price of fuel has gone down. 4% increase....4%.....has ANYONE gotten a 4% COST OF LIVING in their checks this year. I know damned well Social Security is not getting 4% increase. And it is obvious now that Mark Johnson wants these big increases EVERY YEAR. This is NOT a FEE FOR SERVICE. THIS IS NOW A PROFIT REVENUE STREAM FOR THE CITY.

So with PROPERTY TAX INCREASE, RAIN tax, STREET SWEEPING tax, and GARBAGE FEE increase...what are we looking at.....ABOUT A 10% increase in the average property owners TAXES and FEES. Have YOU gotten a 10% raise this year? Has anyone had an improvement in their Richmond County quality of life that rates a 10% tax and fee INCREASE? Southeast Richmond County sucks so bad and is getting so dangerous THEY SHOULD PAY ME TO LIVE HERE.

They have LOST THEIR MINDS. They have BROKE US FINANCIALLY and they are in a panic to steal every dollar possible. They have "studied" and "consulted" and "redeveloped" us into bankruptcy and THEY KNOW IT.

We are in BIG TROUBLE here folks. Our "city" government is OUT OF CONTROL and TOTALLY INCOMPETENT. The damned commissioners blow hot air and vote to approve all of these "projects", "studies", and "consultants" and then get on TV (Alvin) and say it's Russell's fault for not bringing them a balanced budget. Russell's main fault is not stopping you BUNCH OF BLITHERING IDIOT COMMISSIONERS FROM BLOWING THE MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE. They have BLOWN all of the money and now everything is EXTRA. Want garbage service.....EXTRA. Want drain pipes maintained.....EXTRA. Street sweeping.....EXTRA. Riverwalk police patrols.....EXTRA.

The only HAPPY folks I know of in Richmond County are Paul and "associates" and the politicians and senior officials who are getting the kickbacks, campaign contributions, and skybox tickets. FOLLOW THE MONEY.....FROM YOUR WALLET TO THEIR WALLETS.....but there is a $3 a month MONEY FOLLOWING FEE for that.

southern2
7092
Points
southern2 11/23/13 - 09:15 am
4
0
Many taxpayers are paying

Many taxpayers are paying monthly through their house payment and probably don't feel the sting like those that have to drain their savings account for this annual forced redistribution.

My RC property taxes have more than doubled since 2001 with these minor increases.

Color me tapped out.

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 11/23/13 - 09:16 am
3
0
Vote 'em out

Any commissioner who votes for any tax increase needs to be removed from office. It is very clear that the tax payers of Richmond County are fed up with more and more spending! Cut the budget! It can't get any clearer!

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 11/23/13 - 09:35 am
4
0
Just want to say this

I feel for the retired folks in the county...a tax here & a tax there adds up & hurts...& some won't ever feel the taxbite like the workers feel it....they keep digging a hole & giving more reason to look for greener places.....good luck....check the counties in north csra....near the lake.

seenitB4
93819
Points
seenitB4 11/23/13 - 09:45 am
3
0
nocnoc
47366
Points
nocnoc 11/23/13 - 11:13 am
3
0
Voting them out can't be done.

Too many districts get their voting power comes from INSIDE the City limits. An those who want more, as long as others pay for it, will continue to vote the givers back in.

BTW:
Since I am paying a Street sweeper Tax.
I would like to see a Street Sweeper once a month out here on Brown Rd.

When can I expect the installation of my BROWN RD. STORM DRAIN System that we are paying for.

How about the Sewer Improvements - since we are on Septic Tank, like 70++% of the rural South Side when do we get a connection?

These are but a few of the thing we are taxed for and get nothing in return for, for our Taxes. This is a BIG problem with many of us on the SOUTH SIDE. The taxes we are being charged are NOT applicable to what we have, or ARC is willing to install or maintain.

But we are forced pay our share and then some to help support Downtown, while we get darn little in return for our Tax $$$.

With only 1 1/2 votes on the Commission there is darn little chance the South Side will ever get its share of the Property Taxes reinvested in back into the area. Even though the larges percent of the Population is South of Gordon Hwy and a very large percentage of that lives South of Bobby Jones Express way.

After 16+ years, and massive physical locational changes in the Population,ARC is long overdue for the District lines to be redrawn.

Because Until they are there will be no HONEST voter representation for the those south or west of Downtown influences

Little Lamb
48010
Points
Little Lamb 11/23/13 - 01:49 pm
2
0
Piling On

Man! they are talking about

increasing the property tax rate (millage)

adding a new rain tax

increasing the garbage fee rate

adding a new street sweeping fee

- - - - and all at the same time! - - - -

Talk about piling on. It's more cruel than that animal research over at Grooo.

Little Lamb
48010
Points
Little Lamb 11/23/13 - 01:50 pm
1
0
Too Late

Sorry, NocNoc, you must have missed it. They re-drew the Augusta commission district lines early in 2012 so they became effective for the 2012 elections.

rfaulk
42
Points
rfaulk 11/23/13 - 06:14 pm
1
0
Increasing taxes

It would be simple to eliminate the budget shortfall and not cut many personnel.

Postpone the round-abouts for a year.
Eliminate all the studies being conducted.
Eliminate the boon doggles the commissioners take.
Eliminate Fred Russell.

Little Lamb
48010
Points
Little Lamb 11/24/13 - 08:02 pm
0
0
Mayor

I vote for rfaulk for Mayor!

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