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Business Improvement District fails commission vote

Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 12:41 AM
Last updated 1:35 AM
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Augusta’s downtown Business Improvement District will likely end its five-year tenure as a funding source for the Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative after an Augusta Commission vote to renew it failed, 5-4.

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CADI supporters Sanford Loyd (left) and Paul King listen as the Augusta Commission denies a motion to renew the downtown Business Improvement District.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
CADI supporters Sanford Loyd (left) and Paul King listen as the Augusta Commission denies a motion to renew the downtown Business Improvement District.

The commission vetoed the district at its last meeting of the year Tuesday night despite Downtown De­velop­ment Authority Execu­tive Director Margaret Woodard’s presentation of about 114 signed petitions from property owners in support of the BID.

The move means no more work for the yellow-shirted CADIs and downtown property owners will likely see decreased maintenance, City Administrator Fred Russell said.

Established under state law, the BID allows property owners to voluntarily pay higher taxes for added services, as long as more than 50 percent of owners or the owners of more than 50 percent of the district’s assessed value agree. The commission must approve the BID management plan.

The BID took a hit last week when its largest property owner, Morris Communications Co. and three related entities, opted against supporting the renewal.

Still, Woodard and a committee campaigned through the weekend and arrived at a Tuesday public hearing on the BID with a stack of 114 signed petitions, four more than the 110 Woodard said the BID needed to pass.

A last-minute push saw children and spouses of CADIs, plus a handful of DDA members and others, arrive at the commission meeting wearing yellowT-shirts that said “I am 4 CADI.”

Some downtown property owners have been critical of the BID since its formation five years ago, but dissatisfaction has grown in recent months, with many complaining the CADIs weren’t as helpful as Woodard tirelessly insists. Others said the BID ought to pay for added security instead of what it funds now.

Speaking on the BID’s behalf at the hearing, optometrist Ben Casella said the CADIs were very helpful assisting his elderly patients but are not police with arrest powers.

Numerous others spoke for and against the BID on Tuesday both at the 3 p.m. public hearing and during Tuesday’s regular meeting, the final one of the year and the last for four outgoing commissioners. Commissioners Bill Lockett, Alvin Mason, Joe Jackson and Wayne Guilfoyle voted no on the BID, and a substitute motion to approve the BID with conditions also failed.

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OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/19/12 - 06:25 am
9
0
Every one knows

do it yourself or hiring the workers is cheaper that using a middle man handle the job.

Especially if the Middle man is Fred Russell, or the Government taking a admin overhead cut.

Prison labor is in no short demand and I am sure there are more than a few enterprising Teens willing to work on Weekends and after school
to do the job.

Bulldog
1306
Points
Bulldog 12/19/12 - 08:45 am
8
0
It's about time!

The next thing on the list is the DDA. Either get rid of it completely or clean it out and start over!

soapy_725
43555
Points
soapy_725 12/19/12 - 10:26 am
0
0
Praise the Lord.....
Unpublished

Christmas came early to ARC. Let the bleeding in ARC end. It is the season of compassion.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 12/19/12 - 10:30 am
7
0
I think things could have

I think things could have worked out differently if a ledger with how the resources were allocated had been presented publicly. 350k is alot of trash pick-up and graffiti removal. Plus the sweet little segways that are so prominent give the impression that we are buying toys for people to cruise Broad Street looking for pieces of trash that missed the receptacle. There was no such disclosure and to further skew things, people are pointing out that we have an appointed person "managing" taxes instead of someone the public voted-in. Inevitably, it took 5 years for folks to piece together a theory of slush-funding and/or wasteful usage of the money. Again, could have worked out differently.

Little Lamb
43942
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 11:03 am
4
0
Surprise

The Commission got it right on this one. It's a shame the vote was close.

You know, we elected four new commission members recently. I wish the Commission would not hold lame-duck sessions. This thing could have waited until January so that the new commissioners could be the ones voting. Instead, you had outgoing commissioners Matt Aitken, Joe Bowles, Jerry Brigham and J.R. Hatney voting for CADI. They are no longer responsible for the public's business and yet they voted in favor of the tax. Hopefully some of the incoming commissioners will swell the ranks of those voting no.

Conservative Man
5303
Points
Conservative Man 12/19/12 - 05:39 pm
3
0
LL...

...FYI...Bowles voted against. It just wasn't mentioned in the article...that made it 5 against, 4 for...Smith was absent....

There has also been some "wailing and gnashing of teeth" about the 7 employees losing their jobs..

I submit, that if the Director of the DDA Margaret Woodard and one of the major proponents who helped CADI get passed when he was on the DDA Paul King had been doing THEIR jobs none of this would have had to have happened.....Don't blame those who were opposed to this program for the job losses...

Blame those who mismanaged the program.....

Conservative Man
5303
Points
Conservative Man 12/19/12 - 05:39 pm
0
0
LL...

...FYI...Bowles voted against. It just wasn't mentioned in the article...that made it 5 against, 4 for...Smith was absent....

There has also been some "wailing and gnashing of teeth" about the 7 employees losing their jobs..

I submit, that if the Director of the DDA Margaret Woodard and one of the major proponents who helped CADI get passed when he was on the DDA Paul King had been doing THEIR jobs none of this would have had to have happened.....Don't blame those who were opposed to this program for the job losses...

Blame those who mismanaged the program.....

catawba7
319
Points
catawba7 12/19/12 - 06:05 pm
0
3
How did Johnson vote?

No mention of Corey Johnson's vote. It is sad to see 7 people lose their jobs. They did a wonderful job keeping the streets clean for us and Augusta visitors. Shame on the city officials as usual.

Conservative Man
5303
Points
Conservative Man 12/19/12 - 06:57 pm
2
0
Corey?...For..

....he voted for keeping it........

To be clear....For:...Johnson,Hatney,Brigham,Aitken...

Against: Lockett, Bowles, Jackson, Guilfoyle,Mason...

Not Present: Smith...

Discussionstarter
467
Points
Discussionstarter 12/19/12 - 08:52 pm
1
2
Another reason I will not be going downtown

I felt better when I visited downtown and saw these guys. Now, let's see if Deke and Fred will do... what the city should have been doing all along!!

...point to ponder
714
Points
...point to ponder 12/19/12 - 08:56 pm
0
4
poor decision...very costly

Now I want to see those who voted 'no' clean up downtown. For that matter--show up downtown.

No alternative plan....no city employees to do a good job...

How is the City going to maintain the downtown? prison labor? that will look good...they do at lease have uniforms.

SO...5 days a week?..special events?... First Friday's?...Sat mornings? Volunteers? I hope those who were against CADi can keep the downtown clean with no funding.

Amazing...CADi had the votes...why did the commission vote? They are acting like Dr. Azzizz.

....very dysfunctional commission...they voted against it WITHOUT any idea of what to do next!!!!! *the commissioners leaving office have left their 'mark' on downtown for sure.....

They are obviously working for our competition.

Brad Owens
4108
Points
Brad Owens 12/19/12 - 11:17 pm
2
0
catabwa...

The commission didn't cause this, mismanagement by the BID Board caused it.

Brad Owens
4108
Points
Brad Owens 12/19/12 - 11:23 pm
2
0
Points to ponder...

We already pay taxes for clean up and security, by law the BID cannot replace services, it is suppose to be supplemental. Downtown will be just fine without this slush fund for certain connected folks.

I loved seeing Paul King whine about "democracy" given the way the BID BOD was picked. They believe in "democracy" when it benefits them, not so much when it doesn't go their way.

I was opposed to it and will clean my own property.

Little Lamb
43942
Points
Little Lamb 12/20/12 - 12:43 am
2
0
Thanks

Thank you, Conservative Man, for your version of the vote tally. I contradicts what is in McCord's story; but I can easily understand the discrepancy, given the confusion that often pervades these commission meeting. No one disputes that the motion(s) failed.

Let's hope it was a wooden stake. I would hate to have this issue come up again in January.

grinder48
1760
Points
grinder48 12/20/12 - 02:13 pm
0
0
Prison Labor
Unpublished

Keep downtown clean by using prison labor ...

...point to ponder
714
Points
...point to ponder 12/20/12 - 05:52 pm
1
0
Was it Alvin Mason or another

Was it Alvin Mason or another Commissioner who actually asked how Cadi
Is funded?
Do the Commissioners get study notes on the subject matter before the meetings?
How can a program exist for 5 years and still have a sitting commissioner ask such a question?

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