City set to approve borrowing $8 million for Georgia Regents University research center



An $8 million loan to help Georgia Regents University build a cancer research center and repay using future sales tax collections goes for Augusta Commission approval Tuesday.

The loan, a tax anticipation note issued in advance of the city’s next special purpose local option sales tax, needs approval now to make a July state deadline to bank matching funds for the GRU construction project, city Deputy Finance Director Tim Schroer told commissioners at a recent meeting.

Besides briefly discussing the loan last week, the mayor and commission have done little to narrow down a $741 million wish list of projects scheduled to go before voters May 20.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver said the likelihood of a referendum passing goes down if the amount is above $200 million, but the wish list continues to include items such as competing water parks and multiple performing arts facilities.

With commission approval of a package needed next month to include the referendum on the ballot, Commissioner Bill Lockett said the tax package must have more time and wants to delay the vote until November.

“The degree of urgency is obviously not well thought out,” Lockett said.

Also included on the meeting agenda is a discussion of the ongoing relief effort in response to last week’s ice storm.

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Also going before the commission Tuesday include:

• Considering a request from First Tee of Augusta Chairman Emeritus Paul Simon to reconsider his proposal to merge and share resources between First Tee and Augusta Municipal Golf Course

• A proposal from Augusta Interfaith Coalition Director Christopher Johnson to reduce the number of commissioners and make them full-time employees

• Approval of cost-of-living increases for city pensioners of 1.8 percent, effective in March

• Approving up to $150,000 in SPLOST 6 funds for Sand Ridge Community Association to complete capital improvements at Jamestown Community Park

• A request from Lockett for a detailed accounting of all SPLOST revenues and spending since the program began in 1988

• An update on the status of 2.4 percent budget cuts the commission approved for all departments in this year’s budget



Sun, 10/22/2017 - 17:59

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