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Votes on 'Patch' lease stall; vote to re-bid ambulance service passes

Vote to re-bid ambulance service passes

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 10:54 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 1:36 AM
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Augusta Municipal Golf Course will remain under city management and the city’s ambulance service will be put on notice of the city’s intent to seek competitive bids after a heated commission meeting Tuesday.

Marion Williams abstained on both Patch votes, preventing a tie.
Marion Williams abstained on both Patch votes, preventing a tie.

Two votes on a lease of “The Patch” failed, with Com­missioner Marion Williams, voting last by roll call in alphabetical order, abstaining each time and preventing Mayor Deke Copen­haver from breaking the tie. The votes fell along color lines.

The city-owned course was returned to city management last year after The Patch in Au­gusta LLC abandoned its lease and quit paying staff. A bid by three local brothers fell
apart after the commission refused to pay for course improvements.

Commissioner Alvin Mason said Tuesday’s appearance of a lease agreement with Virginia Beach Golf Management, a firm selected through Augusta’s procurement process, and any perceived urgency to lease the course was “a manufactured crisis” of which he would have no part.

“The track record of those who pushed for this before is not good,” Mason said of the white majority, no longer on the commission, that voted to seek private management at the course. “I will not sit here my last two years with the demographics we have here
now and let that happen. … We’ve got to have the discussion.”

Commissioner Bill Fennoy questioned why the course is expected to turn a profit while the city’s aquatics and tennis facilities are not. Routine annual operating losses were the primary reason cited by commissioners who voted to outsource the course.

Voting in favor of the lease, Commissioner Donnie Smith cited the city’s projected $5.2 million deficit and questioned why a firm “willing to give us a $100,000 check today” was being turned down.

“We are elected to try to be good stewards of the public’s money,” he said.

Also voting in favor, Commis­sioner Mary Davis said she was a golfer who had taken call after call about the course’s “dire need of professional attention.”

Commissioner Corey John­son said he wanted to wait until the city hires a recre­ation director who can “take a look at the contract.”

City Administrator Fred Russell said earlier that he was attempting to finalize negotiations with a candi­date for the vacant post and had a backup candidate ready.

A motion to deny the lease failed 5-4 with Fennoy, Johnson, Mason and Bill Lock­ett voting yes. A motion to approve the lease failed 5-4 with Davis, Wayne Guilfoyle, Joe Jackson, Grady Smith and Donnie Smith voting yes.

A vote to re-bid the city’s ambulance contract passed 9-1, with only Jackson voting no.

Augusta Fire Chief Chris James has been critical of the 2005 contract with Gold Cross EMS, saying it is too vague to be policed, but commissioners insisted
their decision Tuesday was routine and had nothing to do with the company’s service.

“What was needed in 2005 may not necessarily be the things we need in 2014,” Mason said, also discounting a petition from the Richmond Coun­ty Neighborhood Alliance warning against monopolies in the ambulance service.

“If you notice, especially today, I’m not addressing any petition, period,” Mason said.

Representatives of Au­gusta ambulance companies South Star and Capital City were present for the meeting, and a South Star spokesman said the firm likely would bid on the contract.

Gold Cross CEO Vince Brog­don said he was “disappointed, because we’ve done an excellent job” but would have to see what the city’s request for proposals said before making a decision to bid.

“The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ might come into play,” he said. “We were hoping to be here for years to come.”

Comments (33) Add comment
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I'm Back Again
307
Points
I'm Back Again 02/06/13 - 12:41 am
0
1
Abstaining should be a crime.
Unpublished

Abstaining should be a crime. You're paid to do a job. Vote yes or no. But either way, vote. Marion Williams, you are a disgrace to the taxpayers of Richmond County.

Riverman1
87474
Points
Riverman1 02/06/13 - 06:24 am
5
1
The city ran Patch

The city ran Patch. Yes sir, Mr. Commissioner, you can tee off any time you want. We’ll GIVE you one of the new carts and put a six-pack in it. You say you want to get your nephew hired into something here? Yes sir, we can find a place for him.

ColCo
853
Points
ColCo 02/06/13 - 07:38 am
6
1
Three words that scare me...

Mayor Alvin Mason.

Clemintime
195
Points
Clemintime 02/06/13 - 07:49 am
7
1
Voting Process

I am not well versed in Parlimentary Procedure, so could someone explain how 5 votes for, 4 votes against, with one abstention means the vote on the motion does not pass. Augusta/Richmond County is in for a world of hurt if this is how the game is going to be played.

Riverman1
87474
Points
Riverman1 02/06/13 - 07:57 am
4
1
Clemintine, where you been

Clemintine, where you been. That screwed up voting system has been to court even. But you need six votes and the mayor can only break 5-5 votes. Thus Williams' abstention. This used to happen ALL the time when we last had this split. Practically speaking, Richmond County needs a quick transformation to a black dominated government which is going to happen sooner or later. This 5-5 split with a white mayor is not a formula for success.

justputtin
1454
Points
justputtin 02/06/13 - 08:11 am
12
0
What a joke

I miss the days of Red Douglass. It hasn't been right since. The course was always in decent condition for a city owned muni and the greens were usually pretty good. The old clubhouse had character and memories. Progress and time have not been good to the patch. And Marion Williams - that's a tactic that exposes a your character. What a joke. voting on racial lines? All parties should be ashamed. This isn't a black/white issue.

Little Lamb
47219
Points
Little Lamb 02/06/13 - 08:47 am
1
0
Solution

From the story:

Commissioner Bill Fennoy questioned why the course is expected to turn a profit while the city’s aquatics and tennis facilities are not. Routine annual operating losses were the primary reason cited by commissioners who voted to outsource the course.

Commissioner Bill Fennoy has led us to a win-win solution. What we need is a package deal whereby one (or more) private companies lease not only the golf course, but also the aquatics center and the tennis center. The city would get an agreed-upon rent (even if it's only a dollar a year) and the companies would have free rein to operate the centers, paying all operating, maintenance, and capital expenses — and, of course, keeping all profits or shouldering all losses. How hard would it be for Geri Sams to draw up that kind of contract?

countyman
20711
Points
countyman 02/06/13 - 08:54 am
2
4
The majority of people living

The majority of people living in Richmond County aren't worrying about race. The white mayor received over 60% of the vote in two straight elections.

I definitely think our local government can do better, but the media goes too far sometimes. This is by far the most diverse commission we've probably ever had in the history of Augusta.

Why does the local media and certain people want Wayne Guilfoyle to be white? They also never mention how Mary Davis is a woman on the commission.

Not one vote on the commission can fall along racial lines, because Mr. Guifoyle isn't white.

I guess it's harder to make everything a racial issue when somebody is Asian. The majority of votes are based on democratic/republican and it just so happens to follow skin color sometimes.

Little Lamb
47219
Points
Little Lamb 02/06/13 - 08:50 am
3
0
Tax Roll

Or, another solution would be to sell the golf course, aquatics center, and tennis center to one or more private entities as is, no strings attached (except that the zoning class would have to be modified to fit in with surrounding properties). The properties would then be back on the tax rolls and the city could get a little revenue dribbling in via property taxes.

soapy_725
43817
Points
soapy_725 02/06/13 - 08:50 am
1
0
Power is an issue. Black or white power?
Unpublished

Freebies for political golfers and hackers. Freebies for everyone. Obama Money grows on trees. This is the life of the majority of the African American citizens. The government has set them free. That means everything is FREE. FREE is FAIR. There is no confusion on the "dark side". They have no problem with a "nannie state". Therefore the Democratic Party is their choice. They had a problem with the "master state", but have no problem with the "totalitarian state". Both are oppressive, void of personal freedom and are morally corrupt. Go figure????

soapy_725
43817
Points
soapy_725 02/06/13 - 08:55 am
1
0
Unknowing pawns on a chessboard
Unpublished

of political control and corruption. Great Britain used them. The US colonies used them. The south used them. Abraham Lincoln used them. LBJ used them. Obama uses them. They are sacrificed and protect the king and queen.

countyman
20711
Points
countyman 02/06/13 - 09:09 am
3
6
Dear Augusta Chronicle

Dear Augusta Chronicle,

I know you obviously need the ratings to compete, and the race issue(especially blaming black democrats for everything) is one of your key selling points to a segment of Columbia County.

However, this is only hurting Augusta in the long run.

Wayne Guilfoyle is asian, and NOT white.

GnipGnop
12519
Points
GnipGnop 02/06/13 - 09:03 am
8
1
Well voters...

You wanted marion back in and you got him...what's his voting record now? 1 present and 2 abstentions? Augusta will never move forward (I don't care what Countyman says) as long as this antiquated voting system is allowed. 2 things need to happen for Augusta to "move forward" a voting system where majority rules and a fair property tax system. I won't hold my breath though.....

soapy_725
43817
Points
soapy_725 02/06/13 - 09:04 am
1
0
Why not just turn the ARC over to the dark side?
Unpublished

How bad can it get? Step back and take notes. People still live, work, study and pray in Detroit. Much as they do in Beirut or Damascus.

CC has plenty of homes in all price ranges. Condo's in rows. Apartments and townhouses. And if you don't see what you like, EG and RP will built something for you. They may would even trade properties? And CC has none of the political bickering or corruption seen in the ARC (-:

GnipGnop
12519
Points
GnipGnop 02/06/13 - 09:30 am
7
2
No...

I am a eyes wide open SOUTH AUGUSTA PROPERTY OWNING TAXPAYER!!! Are you? My agenda is lower taxes, doing away with the unfair trash tax and quicker response to calls from the sheriff's department. To see my tax dollars spread out instead of wasted on pie in the sky pipe dreams downtown. To see the decline of South Augusta addressed. I'm not blind, I see quite clearly!

countyman
20711
Points
countyman 02/06/13 - 09:41 am
2
5
Lol.. Somebody went back and

Lol.. Somebody went back and changed their entire(8:30 am) post.

I'm actually surprise if you live in South Augusta considering how much you hype up North Augusta. You must own property on the south side, but not live in the area.

The new $20 million Vocational high school next to Augusta Tech is located downtown?

What pipe dreams? How can a library, judicial center, or convention center be considered a pipe dream? Those are basic things found in every small to large city across the united states.

I thought somebody just said Augusta want move forward until the majority vote rules. The majority of taxpayers approved the TEE Center downtown.

GnipGnop
12519
Points
GnipGnop 02/06/13 - 09:41 am
8
2
So?

You change your posts all the time. If I own property in any area I have a vested interest in what goes on there. I have never said I live anywhere and quite frankly it's none of your business where I live. I am a property owner in various places so I have a say. My only agenda is named above. I do find it funny you comment on my changing a post. Everyone does it including you!

GnipGnop
12519
Points
GnipGnop 02/06/13 - 09:48 am
4
1
The voters did not approve...

What they got....nor were they informed of the air rights or the cost. Talk about someone changing an entire post? Ask anyone from South Augusta if they think what goes on downtown with their tax dollars is a pipe dream...ask them if their quality of life is better or worse? We will see who the blind follower is then...

GnipGnop
12519
Points
GnipGnop 02/06/13 - 10:04 am
5
0
I might add...

Why does the Mariott get a say in a tax payer funded building? Will they share the utilities of said building when they use the tax payer bought kitchen equipment for their own use? How about the air handlers? Who owns the TEE center, the city or the Mariott? Do you really think the tax payers supported that?

YeCats
11321
Points
YeCats 02/06/13 - 10:20 am
6
0
I'm from the outside looking in,

and I think it is fundamentally wrong for any government to supply its constitutes with "wants", free or otherwise. The private sector should handle that.

Sell this property and put it back on the tax rolls.

SON of Scoob
434
Points
SON of Scoob 02/06/13 - 10:33 am
7
1
Cities in Shambles

Riverman: Cities around the country managed by blacks and minorities are in financial shambles. The bankruptcy for Baltimore was in the news this morning. Detroit is another good example.

Augusta is on its way to insolvency as long a the Clowns Downtown continue saying no to everything that makes financial sense.

soapy_725
43817
Points
soapy_725 02/06/13 - 10:49 am
1
0
Its a sore eye, sore eye, tear it down.
Unpublished

I got the power now, I got the sheriff and I am gonna take us back to the riots of May 1970. I am gonna show you whities who is the boss in ARC. None of this new stuff downtown benefits black folk. It ain't what we want. This new stuff is for the pleasure and financial benefit of a few whites. I am gonna make you pay for 350 years of oppression if it "hair lips hell". Halleluiah !! Holy Holy Pass the Tylenol.

soapy_725
43817
Points
soapy_725 02/06/13 - 10:59 am
0
0
Let FREEdom ring!!!!
Unpublished

Free golf; free public transit; free phones; free food; free housing; free medical; free dental; free vision; free internet; free school lunches; free take home after school meals; free college; free gasoline; free trash pickup, free water; free sewer; free abortions; free nails; free hair do's; FREE everything. LOL LOL

Riverman1
87474
Points
Riverman1 02/06/13 - 11:28 am
3
1
Wayne Guilfoyle

I can't believe we are seriously debating Wayne Guilfoyle's race. We all know he is half-Asian, but that's considered white in any classification I know. Geez, he considers himself white and votes 100% of the time with the white 6.

Riverman1
87474
Points
Riverman1 02/06/13 - 11:54 am
5
1
Son of Scoob, here's how I

Son of Scoob, here's how I tick off everyone. People, in fact, usually vote along racial lines all over the country. Considering that to be the case, then Baltimore and Detroit have a right to also vote along racial lines. If that results in poor local government, that's democracy in action. We can hope Richmond County doesn’t succumb to the same problems as the cities you mentioned, but short of getting in the way of democratic government, there’s not much we can do about it.

I don't approve of city government that wastes money with a money losing golf course, but I can't make them vote the way I see it. Alvin Mason was being very honest when he pointed out the demographics.

dichotomy
34692
Points
dichotomy 02/06/13 - 02:13 pm
4
0
"and it just so happens to

"and it just so happens to follow skin color sometimes."

Oh hogwash. The votes to prevent progress always follow the racial line of black commissioners. Anyone who denies the votes of our commission aren't along racial lines has their head in the sand.

"The majority of taxpayers approved the TEE Center downtown."

No, the taxpayers approved HALF of the TEE. Y'all spent the other HALF without asking us. And they did that based on deception by omission in that we were not told it would be gifted, with additional cash payments, to Paul & Associates and governed by the Marriott. If the voters had been told the TRUTH it would NEVER HAVE BEEN APPROVED. That is why we were lied to and deceived.

And I am glad Alvin Mason publicly stated that his votes are race based and that explains why his votes don't represent or favor the taxPAYERS in his district.

Preventing the waste of money on the golf course when we could actually be getting some income from it is just IGNORANT. And I agree with Little Lamb, lease the aquatics center and the tennis center out too.

And I am already sick of Marion Willams and his strictly racial approach to every issue. What a clod. Isn't he such a brilliant politician for abstaining. To the district that elected Willams....if the commission ever comes up with a new property tax system that is fair you are going to wish you elected somebody that would vote to save the county a few dollars instead of being an obstructionist clown like Williams.

I will be glad when the blacks have the majority on the commission. We will become just like every other city where the blacks are in control like Detroit and Baltimore. And it's elected officials just like Alvin Mason and Marion Willaims that have put those cities in their current predicament. By the time they "get control" they have delayed and stalled progress for so long there is no way to recover. Neither of them have the interest of the county at heart. It's all just a little game of racial tit for tat. Blow hards and big mouths but none of them have ever proposed one solution to solve a problem.

countyman
20711
Points
countyman 02/06/13 - 02:32 pm
1
4
Mr. Guilfoyle is Asian-American

When did Wayne Guilfoyle ever consider himself to be white? People tend to get on the Chronicle, and say things without the facts to back them up.

Blacks have majority control of Atlanta, and it's one of the most vibrant cities/metros in the entire US.

jpbrig
259
Points
jpbrig 02/06/13 - 03:48 pm
4
0
Walker Williams

Charles Walker and Robin William came up with the fraud that it takes six votes to pass something on the commission. Thanks to them the rule will not change till there is a majorty black commission and then it will change quickly. We will be broke shortly there after.

Riverman1
87474
Points
Riverman1 02/06/13 - 03:58 pm
3
0
Countyman asked, "When did

Countyman asked, "When did Wayne Guilfoyle ever consider himself to be white?"

He is HALF Asian. When has he ever considered himself to be NONwhite? This is a totally ridiculous discussion, in my opinion.

AutumnLeaves
8589
Points
AutumnLeaves 02/06/13 - 04:08 pm
3
0
A lot to discuss....

There is a lot to discuss here, but what irritates me the most was the question why wasn't anything done about the Aquatics center before? Because of the same problem we're having right here, right now! It falls right back on attitudes like this one expressed quite blatantly by Alvin Mason: “The track record of those who pushed for this before is not good,” Mason said of the white majority, no longer on the commission, that voted to seek private management at the course. “I will not sit here my last two years with the demographics we have here
now and let that happen...." Same ol' same ol'. Race, race, race, race. I'm sick of the color of people's skin being brought up. We are all, black, white, Asian, whatever, the HUMAN race and we better realize that before it is too late. My politics do not hinge on the color of my skin and neither should anyone else's or we have NOT made any progress at all.

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