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Sales tax funds fall short for road, drainage work

Sunday, April 13, 2014 9:37 PM
Last updated Monday, April 14, 2014 2:10 PM
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Fifty-million dollars from the next special purpose local option sales tax won’t go very far toward repairing Augusta’s aging roads and drainage system.

Engineering Director Abie Ladson said most of the $50 million in projects included on a list going for Augusta Commission approval Tuesday will require additional funds from the Transportation Investment Act, the stormwater fee or some other source to complete.

“Basically, I was given $50 million to work with, so I had to work with what I had,” Lad­son said.

If commissioners agree, the list will join the other specified projects in the $194 million sales-tax package going before voters May 20.

The list’s costliest item, an $8 million set of improvements along 15th Street between the Butt Memorial Bridge and Wrightsboro Road, will improve sidewalks and medians and possibly relocate utilities underground, said interim Deputy Administrator Steve Cas­sell.

Unlike most of the projects, $8 million is sufficient to complete the work, Cassell said.

Other projects on the list aren’t so fortunate. A $2 million allocation for pedestrian improvements and reconstruction of Wrights­boro Road between Highland Avenue and Marks Church Road – a distance of four miles – won’t get the job done, nor will a $1.5 million allocation to complete street and drainage improvements in the Hyde Park and Wilker­son Gardens neighborhoods, according to Ladson.

The 35 projects include several with named targets – Dennis Road, Dover-Lyman, Glass Factory, Monte Sano Avenue, National Hills and Peach Orchard Road – while others are types of services Ladson said the city frequently calls on.

Those unspecified projects include about $4 million for on-call services, typically contracted out, such as emergency appraisals, material testing, construction and design.

A great help toward actually completing the projects would be the commission’s approval of a stormwater fee. An earlier chart Ladson created showed how the city could use the stormwater fee to supplement funding for many of the projects where drainage is involved.

ProjectFunds from SPLOST
15th Street Pedestrian Improvements$8,000,000.00
ADA-Sidewalks-Rehab-Replacement$600,000.00
Bridge Rehabilitation & Maintenance$800,000.00
Corrugated Pipe Replacement Program$500,000.00
Dennis Road Widening & Drainage Improvements$2,000,000.00
Dover-Lyman Street & Drainage Improvements$1,000,000.00
East Augusta Roadway & Drainage Improvements - Phase III (Marion Homes Area)$500,000.00
East Augusta Roadway & Drainage Improvements - Phase IV (Azalea, Brunswick, & Albany Street Areas)$500,000.00
Flood Control Structures - Rehabilitation & Maintenance$1,000,000.00
Garden City Beautification Initiative$250,000.00
Glass Factory Drainage Basin Conveyance Improvements & Flood Reduction$200,000.00
Grading & Drainage$1,500,000.00
Hyde Park & Wilkerson Gardens Street & Drainage Improvements$1,500,000.00
Maintenance/Construction Machinery & Equipment$200,000.00
Milling & Resurfacing - Contracts$5,100,000.00
Monte Sano Ave Improvements (Wrightsboro Rd to Walton Way)$3,000,000.00
National Hill Area Street & Drainage Improvements$3,000,000.00
Old Savannah Road Street & Drainage Improvements (Martin Luther King Blvd to Gordon Hwy)$500,000.00
On Call Guardrail Replacements$300,000.00
On Call Roadway Striping & Reflector Installation$500,000.00
On Call Traffic Engineering$200,000.00
On-Call & Emergency Appraisal Services$100,000.00
On-Call & Emergency Construction Material Testing Services$500,000.00
On-Call & Emergency Construction Services$1,500,000.00
On-Call & Emergency Design Services$300,000.00
Paving Dirt Roads$2,000,000.00
Peach Orchard Road Sidewalk Installation - Pepperidge Drive to Tobacco Road$1,000,000.00
Rocky Creek Flood Reduction Improvements$1,500,000.00
Skinner Mill Road Widening (Boy Scout to Walton Way)$6,000,000.00
SPLOST Administration$1,000,000.00
Traffic Sign Upgrade Program$300,000.00
Traffic Signal Upgrade Program$1,500,000.00
Tree Removal, Pruning & Replacement$1,000,000.00
Watershed Study & Storm Water Inventory & Mapping$150,000.00
Wrightsboro Road Reconstruction & Pedestrian Improvements (Highland Ave to Marks Church Road)$2,000,000.00
Total$50,000,000.00
Comments (29) Add comment
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dichotomy
34405
Points
dichotomy 04/13/14 - 10:28 pm
16
1
I am not in favor of a

I am not in favor of a stormwater fee (RAIN TAX). What I would support is taking all of the PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS, including Paine's Cultural Center or whatever the heck it is, the symphony, the bridge tagging painters, the theater, AND the mills project out of this SPLOST and giving ALL of that money to the Engineering Dept. Those Engineering projects are the kind of projects for which SPLOST was INTENDED.

Vote NO on this SPLOST in May and then tell your commissioners to keep ALL of that private stuff out of the next SPLOST proposal and PUT THE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IN. They can get it right in November or not get it at all.

gargoyle
18571
Points
gargoyle 04/13/14 - 11:25 pm
11
1
So The SPLOST is to go to

So The SPLOST is to go to private slush instead of infrastructure and Storm Water Fee is for infrastructure. What Fee or Tax will be created to upgrade water and sewer projects ? Only in Augusta Politics can money be hidden that creatively.

deestafford
28670
Points
deestafford 04/14/14 - 12:04 am
5
3
You know politicians complain about...

You know politicians complain about not having enough gas tax money to spend on fixing and maintaining roads on one hand and then they turn around and swallow the lie about carbon pollution and global warming requiring better gas mileage which means fewer gallons of gas sold which means less tax money.

The solution is to reduce gas prices, quit trying to sell pregnant roller skate calls that get great gas mileage, and sell more gallons of gas.

We are in no danger of running out of gasoline because the earth continues to replenish every drop of oil we extract through natural processes. Oil is not a "fossil" fuel made by decaying dinosaur bones. Common sense--a rare element recognized by the left--tells one that.

The 2014 SPLOST is just an evolved step in politicians continuum of deviation from any original tax's purpose. All politicians start hearing a Muse whispering in their ear about how that money is now theirs because they have earned the right to use it as they see fit since they understand the big picture better than the voters.

seenitB4
90784
Points
seenitB4 04/14/14 - 06:40 am
10
3
Sales tax funds fall short

Look in the mirror because you did this to yourself...keep going & watch MORE taxpayers leave your tax rolls....
We read these articles & see the big picture but some think we are slamming Augusta...nahhh, just the stupid decisions that keep the place in a flux.

nocnoc
44923
Points
nocnoc 04/14/14 - 07:20 am
11
1
A simple note

dichotomy has expressed the feeling of most of ARC.

THIS SPLOST IS BEING MISUSED
 

VOTE NO
 
MAKE THEM FIX IT.

Little Lamb
46918
Points
Little Lamb 04/14/14 - 07:35 am
8
1
Vote No

NocNoc has it right.

Riverman1
86906
Points
Riverman1 04/14/14 - 08:49 am
10
2
The Gall of Them

The gall of them all as they passed out the money to their friends. Remember the hurry up meeting ran by Copenhaver? He was like an auctioneer. “Do I hear 5 million for Paine?”

story1
802
Points
story1 04/14/14 - 09:08 am
8
1
Vote NO

Let the new leaders revise Splost in a legal manner with no outside agencies. Make all Splost recipients, past and present, account for how they have spent prior gifts. After the leaders determine money was not spent appropriately there may be huge $$ coming back to the county coffers.

grinder48
2015
Points
grinder48 04/14/14 - 11:17 am
0
0
Fix Splost
Unpublished

Add this as another post against giving this Splost tax money to private organizations. The dicotomy post at 10:28 is dead on target.

countyman
20585
Points
countyman 04/14/14 - 11:34 am
3
7
Facts

Seenitb4.. How do these types of articles take away from all the positive in Augusta? Why is the sky always falling in Augusta? The surrounding counties are suppose to be so much better, but many of them already have a stormwater fee...

What does the amount given to the engineering department have to do with taxpayers leaving? The city is able to give the engineering department millions and it's not based on taxpayers coming or leaving..

The splost is being paid for by thousands of people who live outside Richmond County anyway..

Butterman
3682
Points
Butterman 04/14/14 - 11:37 am
4
1
VOTE NO
Unpublished

It is the only way to send them the message.
Someone is supposed to get me a Say NO to SPLOST yard sign today. Hopefully there will be a lot of these around town.

Gage Creed
17857
Points
Gage Creed 04/14/14 - 12:35 pm
5
1
"The splost is being paid for

"The splost is being paid for by thousands of people who live outside Richmond County anyway.."

Really... REALLY?

dichotomy
34405
Points
dichotomy 04/14/14 - 12:42 pm
8
2
"The splost is being paid for

"The splost is being paid for by thousands of people who live outside Richmond County anyway.."

Another misleading lie. The SPLOST is MOSTLY paid for by everyone who lives INSIDE Richmond County.

lgr
236
Points
lgr 04/14/14 - 01:10 pm
6
1
SPLOST

i live in richmond county. i pay sales tax almost every day. my relatives live else where. they only pay it about once a month, some only a few times a year when they come to augusta shopping.i always vote no on splost. who in their right mind votes to increase their taxes?

countyman
20585
Points
countyman 04/14/14 - 01:37 pm
2
8
Facts

The splost package will receive money from the residents of Richmond County and thousands of people from outside the county.

''Another misleading lie. The SPLOST is MOSTLY paid for by everyone who lives INSIDE Richmond County.''

The word 'lie' is a very strong choice of words and even worse if you don't have anything to backup the statement. Can you support the comment above with any facts?

''It asked the shopping preferences of residents. About 93 percent of those who responded said they travel outside Columbia County for their shopping needs.''
http://www.nbc26.tv/story/21739042/survey-finds-columbia-county-resident...

The overwhelmingly majority of residents from Columbia County(not even including Aiken, Burke, Mcduffie, Lincoln, and Edgefield) already shop in Richmond County...

dichotomy
34405
Points
dichotomy 04/14/14 - 02:00 pm
4
1
FACT: Survey Posted: Apr 13,

FACT: Survey Posted: Apr 13, 2010 5:33 PM EDT

That survey is over 4 years old and much more shopping is available now in Evans.......nothing in the survey said they travel to Richmond County to shop........and the survey was focused on the question of outlet malls. Nothing in that survey would indicate that most of the SPLOST taxes are paid by non-RC residents.

And since every new business that comes to RC is given huge tax breaks to locate here, everything that we MIGHT gain in sales tax revenue we LOSE in tax concessions in the general revenue fund.

Butterman
3682
Points
Butterman 04/14/14 - 02:25 pm
6
2
FACTS
Unpublished

This SPLOST package contains nearly $22 million to outside groups, private colleges and non profits. This is a violation of the SPLOST law. This SPLOST package contains $50 million worth of infrastructure projects "to be determined".. that is against the SPLOST law. This SPLOST package contains $5.5 million going to Matthew Kwatinetz and his mystery mills project without any tenants committing and no clear plan of how he will spend our money. Meanwhile we are told this SPLOST does not contain enough to finish NEEDED infrastructure projects. The SPLOST law clearly states that these projects must be clearly defined before being put on the ballot and money can only go toward government capital improvement and infrastructure projects. It is not supposed to fund everyone's pet art project and cultural centers at private colleges. Therefore, Vote No to this SPLOST on May 20th, and then commissioners can get back to work putting together a sensible SPLOST package without all the fluff that adheres to the law to put back before the voters at a later time.

Butterman
3682
Points
Butterman 04/14/14 - 02:33 pm
7
1
Cman
Unpublished

...you do realize that Fred Russell and Deke Copenhaver gave away $10 million in sales tax revenue to Costco and other VAR retailers through the TAD don't you? So not one penny spent at Costco will go into the sales tax coffers... certainly not for atleast 15 years or more

story1
802
Points
story1 04/14/14 - 02:20 pm
8
1
Defenders of Splost VII

Seems the only people defending Splost VII are ones who potentially will profit from the additional tax.

Vote No on this one and let the new leaders get it right.

nocnoc
44923
Points
nocnoc 04/14/14 - 02:49 pm
3
1
Parody to A Ray Atkins Song

Yeah, If you're going through Augusta
Keep on moving, face that fire
Run right through it
You might get out
Before the taxman even knows you're there
Yeah, you might get out
Before the Taxman even knows you're there.
===============

countyman
20585
Points
countyman 04/14/14 - 05:31 pm
3
8
Facts

Can someone please name one county in the US that doesn't offer tax breaks? Why do people always want to portray that Augusta is so different unless it's something positive?

''That survey is over 4 years old and much more shopping is available now in Evans.......nothing in the survey said they travel to Richmond County to shop........and the survey was focused on the question of outlet malls. Nothing in that survey would indicate that most of the SPLOST taxes are paid by non-RC residents.''

Where else do they shop if not Richmond County? Do you really believe the Aiken Mall is more popular compared to the Augusta mall? Did the residents of CC stop coming to the Augusta Exchange or Surrey Center?

Are you really comparing the new shopping in Evans versus the Costco, Apple, Cabelas, Michael Kors, Sams expansion, etc in Richmond County since 2010?

Butterman
3682
Points
Butterman 04/14/14 - 03:46 pm
6
1
Spin
Unpublished

Nortonguy loves to twist facts to make them into whatever he wants. That's called spin, and he's spinning faster than a washing machine. Sure, people from outside RC pay into SPLOST, BUT that still does not justify every little special interest group getting money for their pet project. For one it is in violation of the SPLOST law. And that's the FACT.

Riverman1
86906
Points
Riverman1 04/14/14 - 04:17 pm
8
2
Houses For Reverends Too?

If the SPLOST, which has laws that strictly control how the money can be spent, can be usurped and given to private organizations and individuals, could the general tax fund and other income in Richmond County be diverted to private special interests? If the demographics support Commissioners who will give tax funds to well connected people is there any hope for the county?

If the churches start exerting their ability to deliver votes is there any doubt the Commission wouldn’t start building them anything they want? Think that Archbishop in Atlanta had a big house? Wait till you see what the reverends get here.

seenitB4
90784
Points
seenitB4 04/14/14 - 05:14 pm
5
1
Gwinnett's 322M Splost

70% will go to transportation projects

An 18 member citizens group ha recommended how to divvy up the money...
$48 mil to widen roads
$33 mil to improve intersections
$27 mil for new sidewalks
commish will vote wed on this

Rest should be spent on---renovating parks--buying new fire,police vehicles--replacing public libraries--& improving senior centers....

That is what makes gov work..imo

Riverman1
86906
Points
Riverman1 04/14/14 - 05:17 pm
2
1
Bell, California has nothing

Bell, California has nothing on Augusta, Georgia.

Riverman1
86906
Points
Riverman1 04/14/14 - 05:26 pm
5
0
SeenIt, that's what a SPLOST

SeenIt, that's what a SPLOST should look like.

Gage Creed
17857
Points
Gage Creed 04/14/14 - 05:32 pm
3
0
Facts are pesky things..

Funny I sure see a lot of RC tags buying fuel in NA... I wonder just how many that live on the Southside of Aiken travel to the Augusta Mall?

I think someone could give Maytag a run for their money.....

Gage Creed
17857
Points
Gage Creed 04/14/14 - 05:34 pm
3
0
"Are you really comparing the

"Are you really comparing the new shopping in Evans versus the Costco, Apple, Cabelas, Michael Kors, Sams expansion, etc in Richmond County since 2010?"

Don't forget those shops on Jimmie Dyess and the Five Guys that aren't there..... (eyeroll)

Butterman
3682
Points
Butterman 04/14/14 - 05:45 pm
6
1
Cage Greed
Unpublished

South Augusta is still waiting on its 5 Guys.. oh and there is no sight of that Cheesecake Factory and Ruth's Chris that Nortonguy promised more than 4 years ago.

Butterman
3682
Points
Butterman 04/14/14 - 05:56 pm
5
1
Nortonguy Called OUT
Unpublished

on the radio. If anyone was listening to the afternoon local radio talkshow just a few mins ago, they heard a well known radio personality call out Nortonguy on air. Ha! Gotta love it!

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