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Commisison, delegation hope meeting leads to fewer legislative surprises

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 8:39 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 12:15 AM
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Augusta’s legislative delegation and Augusta Commis­sion members haven’t always had the best relationship, but after meeting for the first time in two years Tuesday, they seemed to agree on one thing: A whopping amount of money will soon start to flow into city coffers as collections begin for the Transportation Investment Act.

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Richmond County Solicitor General Kellie McIntyre speaks at a meeting of Augusta Commission members and legislators representing the city. Much of the talk at the session focused on the new sales tax raising money for transportation projects.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Richmond County Solicitor General Kellie McIntyre speaks at a meeting of Augusta Commission members and legislators representing the city. Much of the talk at the session focused on the new sales tax raising money for transportation projects.

“You’re talking about a lot of money, about $800 million over a 10-year span. About half of that will be coming through Augusta,” said state Rep. Wayne Howard, one of five Augusta legislators at a joint meeting with commissioners Tuesday.

Former Commissioner Don Grantham, now a state De­part­ment of Transpor­tation board member, spoke about the transportation sales tax and the city’s role in ensuring that road contractors use minority subcontractors. That responsibility will fall on local contractors and the city engineering department, which will put the projects out for bids, but Augusta can enforce the process by adopting a similar DOT resolution of support, he said.

News that the tax includes more than $5 million designated for Augusta Pub­lic Transit was well-received, though some disagreed about how best to use it for bus service expansion. Com­missioner Alvin Mason said a transit authority would ensure “it cannot just be turned back arbitrarily,” while Rep. Earnest Smith agreed with Sen. Hardie Davis that an additional governing authority might “create an additional layer of government.”

Commissioners Bill Lock­ett and Donnie Smith said keeping lines of communication with the delegation would prevent legislative surprises locally. Smith cited last year’s sales tax exemption for energy used in manufacturing, which he said benefited Au­gusta manufacturers but left an unexpected hole in the city’s sales tax budget.

Mayor Pro Tem Corey John­son gave his support for the Georgia Downtown Ren­ais­sance Act, which provides tax incentives for private-sector investments in downtown and goes before the General Assembly this year.

Many said the meeting was productive.

“It’s really important to set the tone for a new year,” May­or Deke Copenhaver said.

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soapy_725
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soapy_725 01/09/13 - 10:43 am
1
0

Deke loves to talk things to death....

Unpublished

he will do well in Washington DC. No action. No blame.

dichotomy
26806
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dichotomy 01/09/13 - 02:15 pm
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"spoke about the

"spoke about the transportation sales tax and the city’s role in ensuring that road contractors use minority subcontractors"

Why????? Does this get the taxpayers the best price and highest quality for their money? I think not, and I only have to point to our local Procurement Office to prove that that policy does not produce a quality product for the best price. I don't remember minority holdback contracts being part of the TSPLOST ballot isssue. Well just a reminder to our local folks.......in Richmond County the whites are the minority so be sure you use TRUE minority sub-contractors on local contracts....hint hint Procurement Office.

Speaking of Procurement and taxpayer money.....any progress on our ILLEGAL DUAL PROPERTY TAX AND FEE SYSTEM?

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