City officials are pushing to create additional taxing districts to fund programs or services in Augusta.
Deputy Administrator Ted Rhinehart placed a request for legislation enabling Community Improvement Districts, or CIDs, on the agenda for Tuesday’s Finance Committee to consider. The agenda item states that CIDs were discussed at recent meetings held across Augusta-Richmond County as a development tool used by many Georgia counties.
There are 25 active CIDs in Georgia, most in metro Atlanta, according to a 2016 report by the Andrew Young School at Georgia State University’s Center for State and Local Finance. The CIDs have an appointed board and their primary funding mechanism is an ad valorem tax that averaged 4.7 mills in 2014, the report said.
Once the enabling legislation is created, the CID requires approval by a majority of commercial property owners within its boundaries and by the owners of 75 percent of the properties’ value, it stated. CIDs are a type of Business Improvement District or BID, with which downtown Augusta has previous experience.
For five years the downtown Augusta BID levied between 6 and 6.89 mills on property owners to fund the Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative, or CADI. Administered by the Downtown Development Authority, the CADI “Clean and Green Team” rode Segways around downtown and performed some maintenance, but eventually lost support from many property owners and the BID wasn’t renewed by the Augusta Commission.
Augusta commissioners who responded to requests for comment said they were unfamiliar with requests to create a CID. Commissioner Ben Hasan has requested a discussion of the Downtown Development Authority at the commission’s 11 a.m. standing called meeting, which is typically closed to discuss personnel, real estate acquisition or litigation.
The Finance Committee, now chaired by Commissioner Sean Frantom, also will review a detailed five-year capital improvements plan created by staff to spend remaining sales tax 5, 6 and 7 funds on Recreation and Parks projects, bond funds on sanitary sewer extension and other work and Transportation Investment Act discretionary funds on transportation projects.
Augusta’s Engineering Services Committee will review a $173,751 change order for embankment repair work along the Augusta Canal; a $4.4 million bid award to Reeves Construction for the Dover-Lyman road, drainage and sidewalks project; a $252,446 change order for HVAC work at 452 Walker Street, the new Engineering and Utilities headquarters and a proposal from attorney Wright McLeod to create a new landfill.
Engineering Director Abie Ladson is expected to present an update on activities funded by the city’s new stormwater utility fee during the last two quarters. Commissioner Marion Williams has requested discussion of Augusta’s EMS contract with Gold Cross, the new city-run probation office, the city fleet maintenance contract and the duties of Augusta’s Housing and Community Development Citizens Advisory Board.
The city Public Services Committee will discuss accepting 100 surplus bus shelters from the Jacksonville, Fla., Transit Authority. The city will be responsible for hauling the shelters to Augusta at an approximate cost of $26,000, according to the agenda item from Transit Director Patrick Stephens.
The donation will save Augusta about $650,000 and all shelters will be brought to a “like new state,” it said.
Reach Susan McCord at (706) 823-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.