AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Money and red tape have been the main reasons why Augusta officials say they've been having a tough time getting rid of the abandoned homes around town.
During Tuesday's commission meeting, Marion Williams proposed a task force to tackle the issue, and said starting it up shouldn't cost the city anything. "It takes one match to set a forest on fire. So, if we can clean up one area, we can go to another."
Williams is one of the several commissioners who said the biggest complaint they get from their constituents stems from issues with abandoned homes. Williams said the abandoned buildings often serve as cover for criminal activity. When you couple that with the overgrown lots that welcome unwanted creatures, Williams said it's time neighbors roll up their sleeves and take the lead.
"You've got to clean up your own backyard so to speak. We're going to go in there with some boots and gloves and kind of pull some of that stuff out," said Williams.
Commissioner Williams is teaming up with area churches to create an abandoned property task force. He said while the city searches for more money to deal with the hundreds of properties that need to be torn down, community leaders can play a part in protecting their neighborhood's property values. "Nobody is going to move or invest in that area when you have stuff across the street looking like that."
Williams said that he hopes this task force will send a message to the other commissioners and department heads so that more priority is placed on keeping Augusta clean and investing in communities that often feel forgotten. "We're trying to get some people and start doing something to let the city know that we're not going to sit around here and tolerate this anymore," said Williams.