Council gives tentative OK to Project Jackson

A member of the audience holds up a "No TIF" sign during the county council meeting.

It will take a little longer for the city of North Augusta to get Aiken County Council’s final verdict on the North Augusta Tax Incremental Fi­nancing district, which would be used to fund a proposed riverfront development known as Project Jackson.

County council didn’t kill it, but didn’t give it the final approval some were hoping for, either.

Soon after the start of the council’s meeting Tuesday, it was explained to the standing-room-only crowd that the council had received legal advice to consider the intergovernmental agreement as an ordinance, which requires three votes, called “readings,” plus a public hearing. Therefore, the council did not vote as scheduled on the Project Jackson resolution already approved by North Augusta City Council and the Aiken County Board of Education.

The ordinance, however, got first reading approval Tuesday, when it was included as an item on the council’s consent agenda. A consent agenda allows for several items to be voted on as a group, instead of taking a vote on each individual item. The consent agenda, with the Project Jackson ordinance, was approved.

The county council will schedule a public hearing and have two more readings at future meetings.

During the meeting’s public presentation, North Augusta resident Steve Don­ohue and North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover gave council members the pros and cons of the project.

Donohue, who has been a vocal opponent, shared several reasons for his opposition, including the use of government funds and his belief that the area on which the project would be built doesn’t fit the definition of being a “blighted area.”

Glover highlighted the benefits of the project, specifically the economic impact it would have on the county.

 

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