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Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree announces sales tax support

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 11:23 AM
Last updated Wednesday, April 30, 2014 1:09 AM
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Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree on Tuesday announced his support for the upcoming tax package at a news conference, saying the measure enhances public safety.

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Mayor Deke Copenhaver (left) stood beside Roundtree during the news conference. He said he is optimistic the 1-cent tax package will pass.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Mayor Deke Copenhaver (left) stood beside Roundtree during the news conference. He said he is optimistic the 1-cent tax package will pass.

Roundtree said the $194 million special purpose local option sales tax 7 package, which will be voted on May 20, will provide vital resources to curb crime.

“In the best interest of public safety, I support the current SPLOST package and strongly feel that we cannot afford to wait until November 2015 to revisit this issue,” he said, standing in front of the sheriff’s office headquarters, which was paid for with the sales tax revenue.

The 2014 package would provide $1.4 million to the sheriff’s office for in-car video systems, body cameras for deputies and a downtown video enhancement security system.

An additional $22.5 million would include replacing 280 patrol vehicles, replacing and maintaining 225 mobile data terminals in patrol vehicles and purchasing the sheriff’s office’s radio network.

“We currently, being the second-largest city and having the largest full-service sheriff’s office in the state, do not own and maintain our own radio network,” he said.

The sheriff’s office has paid $500,000 a year for the past 16 years to rent that air space.

Roundtree said that became an issue during the February ice storm, when the sheriff’s office lost radio communications twice. One time it was for 45 minutes. Each time, the sheriff’s office was put on a waiting list for restoration.

“Anytime without radio communication could literally mean the difference between life and death to the citizens of this community,” the sheriff said.

The $13 million purchase with the sales tax funding would free up money previously spent on rent.

Roundtree, who said the news conference was not politically motivated or associated with any political campaigns, acknowledged that there have been some concerns over this tax project and that it is “not the perfect package.”

“But if the current SPLOST does not pass, there is currently no other funding source to obtain the items I have listed, which are vital to the operations of the sheriff’s office,” he said.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver, who stood beside Roundtree during the news conference, said he was optimistic the package would pass. Only once has a package failed, but it was “over-bloated,” he said.

“We have got to get this passed,” Co­pen­haver said. “I think he (Roundtree) laid out how critical this is the public.”

Roundtree took no questions from the media after the news conference.

Comments (39) Add comment
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GiantsAllDay
9063
Points
GiantsAllDay 04/29/14 - 07:13 pm
7
0
NocNoc, probably Sentinel

NocNoc, probably Sentinel Probation Services.

GnipGnop
11466
Points
GnipGnop 04/29/14 - 09:20 pm
5
0
The oath doesn't differentiate

between laws. An elected peace officer that knowingly supports an illegal activity such as SPLOST violates that oath.

rebellious
20165
Points
rebellious 04/29/14 - 09:24 pm
7
0
Big Sigh

of relief! I can finally state a position because the "larger than life" Richard Roundtree has approved the SPLOST VII.

1) No surprise here. A Democrat endorsing another tax, or at least continuation of a tax

2) Roundtree and the Democrat party in Augusta thinking I give a rats arse what Roundtree (or any of the other entitlement party) endorses.

3) No surprise the scare tactics are being employed. And, sadly, they work with a segment of our populace who thunk without SPLOST VII there ay be fewer police on the streets.

specsta
6073
Points
specsta 04/29/14 - 09:33 pm
11
0
Live Within Your Means

This is Augusta. Not Atlanta or Miami or Dallas or LA or Chicago.

Since this is Augusta, a third-tier city among cities, that means that the RCSO might have to do with driving older cars, using older mobile laptops, and continuing to rent radio air space. It would be nice to have the latest and fanciest new technology with digital body cams and a "downtown video enhancement security system". But the budget is not there.

This is no different from the citizens of Augusta - everyone must live within a budget or go bankrupt. If things need to be cut back, so be it. Spending money on prostitution stings, for example, is a waste of that budget.

It doesn't matter if Augusta is the second-largest city in Georgia - there just isn't extra money available to waste. The infrastructure is crumbling, stores are boarded up, the homeless population continues to grow. There are schools in serious need of better resources for the students and teachers.

Law enforcement is important, but it's not everything. The Sheriff needs to figure out how to work within the resources he already has, making cuts as needed - and if more money comes to RCSO through SPLOST or grants or whatever, that's the extra stuff - not the essentials.

We all have to budget resources and we need to stick to it.

AutumnLeaves
5992
Points
AutumnLeaves 04/29/14 - 10:07 pm
3
0
Pardonnez-moi, but if the

Pardonnez-moi, but if the Sheriff wants 300 police cars, won't this information get criminals that haven't got a record and are eligible to vote out voting no for SPLOST? If I wanted 300 police cars I would've kept it below the radar. Those here that don't want SPLOST might just get what they want: more "no" votes. Some criminals actually pay attention to media reporting.

prov227
2924
Points
prov227 04/29/14 - 10:26 pm
4
0
One percent here ...

one percent there. Pretty soon we're talking about some real money.

Stunned 2
3117
Points
Stunned 2 04/30/14 - 12:11 am
5
0
I rarely shop in Richmond County any more.

I try to support my home county now that EVERY child that attends a Richmond County public school receives a 'Free lunch' (taxpayer provided lunch). My county has corrupt politicians - but at least most of the citizens are honest and contributing members of society.

Young Fred
15724
Points
Young Fred 04/30/14 - 03:03 am
3
0
Specsta

Am I the only one who read your post with tongue in cheek?

iaaffg
1542
Points
iaaffg 04/30/14 - 06:02 am
4
0
of course he supports it; he

of course he supports it; he wants a cut of it.

Butterman
3410
Points
Butterman 04/30/14 - 06:21 am
4
0
Headline should Read

Billy Backing Sales Tax. Sheriff Bought bought off. This paper is a propaganda rag.

southern2
5407
Points
southern2 04/30/14 - 07:11 am
4
0
Probably why we have the

Probably why we have the "Minorities(i.e. Majorities) Won't Vote On This Day'' lawsuit. Somebody scared the local conservatives might get a chance to trash the SPLOST TAX?

nanscc@bellsouth.net
12
Points
nanscc@bellsouth.net 04/30/14 - 07:51 am
3
0
More Taxes

The call for more taxes is known as the SPLOST, a "Tax" by another name still looks the same, more spending, new spending schedule at the behest of the citizens, and cents – less spend. Trash the SPLOST and start the “Hand – me – down" program in city budgeting. Many families practice it, why not Augusta government.

jimmymac
32645
Points
jimmymac 04/30/14 - 10:27 am
1
0
TAXES
Unpublished

Augusta is headed down the road to be another Detroit. A city run by democrats spending money before they even get it. Funds being used for projects that have nothing to do with improving the infrastructure. Down the road another tax will be needed to pay for the crumbling roads that will be ignored with the SPLOST tax request. Then they'll use the sky is falling line to push that through. Taxpayers will flee Richmond county and then there won't be enough revenue to run the city. Look at Detroit and this is what Augusta will look like in a few years.

Marinerman1
4282
Points
Marinerman1 04/30/14 - 12:56 pm
0
0
Radio Lease Contract ?

I think the lease is held by Motorola. It is the same line they fed to Clay Whittle. I think the world of Sheriff Whittle, but I disagree with his decision to get a new radio system, without first making sure our old one could not be made to work. Motorola -- they're good...

laro247
132
Points
laro247 04/30/14 - 01:06 pm
0
0
This is news

Since when is a politician supporting a tax increase news?

Darby
23589
Points
Darby 05/02/14 - 12:29 am
1
0
"He said he is optimistic the 1-cent tax package will pass."

Here's hoping Roundtree is just whistling past the graveyard.

I'm voting no!

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