AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The Richmond County Marshal’s Office performs more than 4,000 evictions every year. It costs a little less than $500,000, but they collect only a fraction of that money; about $100,000. Marshals say they need eviction fees to increase to pay for more officers to do their jobs.
Evictions are some of the most frightening calls deputies with the Richmond County Marshals office deal with. You never know what’s waiting behind that front door.
Sgt. Eugene Brantley is a 20-year law enforcement veteran. “It’s pretty much all they have and sometimes they’re willing to fight for it or even die for it as some as them have told us..”
Both Sgt Eugene Brantley and Corporal Steven Billman facilitate 80 evictions, on average, each week. “We need more people to complete these evictions. If not, we may run out of time and not be able to complete what we need to do.”
Keandra Thomas pulled up at her home on 3rd Ave., only to find her and her 6 kids belongings in the front yard. “This stuff that’s out here, this is my trial and tribulations, what I need to see to make them better.” A horrifying sight she overcame with marshals by her side. “They’re out here in the pouring sweat with other tenants trying to help them get where they need to go. They sit out there until everything is gone. In the heat, they don’t have help unless people come help them. Even when I was getting ready to leave, they came by and checked on me.”
On Thursday, commissioners are expected to consider an agenda item from the Marshals Office. It’s a request to implement a new marshals’ eviction fee proposal.
“We need more manpower and the only to sort of offset the cost is to sort of go up on the fees,” says Sgt. Brantley.
The goal is to increase the dispossess fee from $25 to $60 and the eviction fee from $25 to $65. The total for filing a dispossess would rise from $72 to $107, bringing it in line with other counties, according to the Marshal.
Marshal Ramone Lamkin says changing the fee structure would generate $525,000. That revenue can be used to hire 5 deputies to tackle two major issues of keeping the community clean and the officer safety. “You always, want to, you know, go home at the end of the day.”
The Marshal’s Office says to their knowledge the fees haven’t been adjusted in more than 30 years.