AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Back and forth during Tuesday's meeting, commissioners failed to agree on the "in-house" demolition program. The vote was basically a tie, killing the plan. For now the 30 abandoned homes in Hyde Park won't be torn down on the cheap.
"Inmates can do it, inmates can even drive the heavy-duty equipment, obviously, you won't let the inmates drive to the landfill in the truck but in the meantime inmates have done it and they're currently doing it in other places in the state as we speak," says Commissioner Ben Hassan.
Instead of using contractors the city would use inmates and city equipment to raze the dilapidated homes. Hiring a contractor would cost more than $6,000, money the city just doesn't have right now.
Removing the other 70-homes is already costing $400,000. Without collecting higher fees at the landfill, the money has run out.
"I'm not sure the environmental services team can provide the $400,000 if we don't approve all of these fee increases," says Hassan.
What's the next step? The environmental services team will have to figure out if it can come up with more money. Hassan says he wouldn't be surprised if in the next month or two, the inmate demolition program is up for debate again. "So if we're able to sustain it and do it without those increases it's all well and good because this was a backup plan."
In other words, without the money the inmate plan may be the only plan.