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Augusta goat pilot project moves forward

Thursday, May 22, 2014 8:48 PM
Last updated Friday, May 23, 2014 10:24 AM
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A small herd of goats will help keep vegetation under control at two or three fenced detention ponds under a pilot project approved by Augusta Commission on Thursday.

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The Augusta Richmond County Commission held their first meeting in their new chambers.   MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
The Augusta Richmond County Commission held their first meeting in their new chambers.

The project, modeled after similar ones in other cities and placed on the agenda by Commissioner Marion Williams, will cost only about $500 for the purchase of a few goats, Engineering Director Abie Ladson said.

Of the city’s approximately 700 detention ponds, “right now, if we can keep 25 percent of them cut, we’re doing good,” Ladson said.

The agenda item, a light moment at the end of the commission’s first meeting in its newly-remodeled chamber, prompted a few jokes.

“If I’ve got to break the tie, I vote goat,” Mayor Deke Copenhaver said.

Commissioners Bill Lockett and Grady Smith noted that someone might take one of the goats.

“On the Fourth of July, we double the guard out there to make sure nobody gets a goat,” Smith said.

Also on the agenda

• Williams bristled at a motion made by Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle to move several of Williams’ “discussion” items, including a discussion about “employees who misrepresent information” back to a committee.

“Any commissioner has the right to put any item on the agenda,” Williams said. “I need to have discussion.”

When the body voted 7-2 to refer the items back to committee, Williams asked City Clerk Lena Bonner to place them on the next regular commission meeting agenda.

• The commission also approved 10-0 awarding a bid to Cypress Golf Management of Orlando, Fla., to manage Augusta Municipal Golf Course, to the chagrin of Augusta businessman Paul Simon.

Simon has presented a proposal to share management and resources between “The Patch” and adjacent First Tee of Augusta. He told commissioners Thursday his plan was preferable to Cypress’ because it was local, benefited youth golf at First Tee and was approximately $100,000 cheaper per year due to lower travel, accounting and equipment expenses.

Recreation Director Bob Levine said Cypress’ expenses were included in the course’s nearly-complete operating plan, but that all expenses would be itemized in each of Cypress’ requests for payment from the city.

The bid award calls for Augusta to pay the firm $3,000 a month to run the course, starting late this summer, then $5,000 a month once it breaks even. At that point Cypress will give 70 percent of course profits to the city.

“The cash register is in Augusta,” Levine said. Money “goes from the register to the finance department.” Cypress will provide monthly reports of rounds played, food sold and other items, he said.

Guilfoyle said he wanted to question Levine further about the contract details, but Lockett, who has opposed several other efforts to outsource the golf course, called for the vote. Simon objected.

The commission approved the bid award 10-0.

• The body also gave a $2.5 million loan to the Laney-Walker and Bethlehem project. Finance Director Donna Williams said the loan was “frontloading money to make it available to the project,” which receives $750,000 annually in hotel-motel room fees under a 50-year agreement. The city agreed in 2010 to issue bonds in advance of those fees, but the project ran through the funds ahead of its next opportunity for a bond issue, in 2015.

• The group also agreed, on Lockett’s motion, to increase Procurement Director Geri Sams’ salary to $113,000 annually to put it on par with other city department heads of similar experience, education and responsibility.

Human Resources Director Tanika Bryant said based on a study, while most department heads are paid above market rates, internally they are not fair.

The raise passed 6-4 with commission members Mary Davis, Guilfoyle, Donnie Smith and Grady Smith opposed.

Comments (19) Add comment
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TrulyWorried
16067
Points
TrulyWorried 05/22/14 - 09:36 pm
11
0
Laney Walker and Bethlehem Project

ran through the funds ahead of its next opportunity for a bond issue in 2015.
Do they have an explanation, on paper, why this happened? Too much money in various departments within Augusta/Richmond County disappears mysteriously and no answer ever comes forward.

bubbasauce
22991
Points
bubbasauce 05/22/14 - 09:50 pm
8
2
Maybe if the County bought

Maybe if the County bought about 100,000 goats we might get the grass cut along the roads and also a lot more things done in Richmond County! Good start though. Also you could allow a few to get gone and BBQed. I'm in!

bubbasauce
22991
Points
bubbasauce 05/22/14 - 09:54 pm
4
1
I'm glad to see Abi starting

I'm glad to see Abi starting to use his brain now that he is not getting mega money from good ole Splost fund. Hopefully others will follow suit.

just an opinion
2839
Points
just an opinion 05/22/14 - 10:03 pm
4
1
How long was Ms. Bonner out for?

Was she on short term disability while out of work? I'm glad she is better.

dichotomy
36170
Points
dichotomy 05/22/14 - 10:25 pm
9
1
Can I safely assume that the

Can I safely assume that the way the worm has turned that we will soon have the most highly paid incompetent department heads in the southeast? I don't think Geri Sam's department has ever let a contract that didn't get us sued and ultimately deliver a substandard product.

It's amazing that we continue to raise the salaries of people that really should have been fired and replaced long ago.....just because.......well, because of why we do most everything in Augusta. Has anyone ever seen the black commissioners use their muscle to raise the salaries of any white folks....or are we not allowed to talk about that anymore boss?

Casting_Fool
1175
Points
Casting_Fool 05/23/14 - 12:11 am
7
1
So what's it going to cost to

So what's it going to cost to guard the goats?

geecheeriverman
3667
Points
geecheeriverman 05/23/14 - 04:36 am
9
3
Laney-Walker

Have the salaries of the ones in charge of the Laney-Walker project ever been disclosed? Someone is getting rich off the tax payers money. 50 years at $750,000 is a lot of money. For this kind of money, it will probably become a gated community. Check out the parking lot at the ANIC building. This is an example of how these politically connected people manage things. Check out the Augusta Mini Theatre property. It looks unoccupied and unkempt. How much money has been poured down this hole? We keep hearing about the Black Folk being disenfranchised 250 years ago, so it is now time for us White Folk to pay up.

IBeDogGone
3015
Points
IBeDogGone 05/23/14 - 05:17 am
9
0
Donation

If I donate a heard of Goats can I get a tax break?

Little Lamb
47918
Points
Little Lamb 05/23/14 - 05:28 am
6
2
Cabbage Patch

I am glad the commission did not fall for Paul Simon's pitch. He already has milked us taxpayers for too much of our money.

Little Lamb
47918
Points
Little Lamb 05/23/14 - 05:30 am
10
1
Out There Somewhere

Do you think George Eskola will be able to get a story or two by filming the goats in action out there somewhere?

Little Lamb
47918
Points
Little Lamb 05/23/14 - 05:37 am
10
1
Accounting

From the story:

The project, modeled after similar ones in other cities and placed on the agenda by Commissioner Marion Williams, will cost only about $500 for the purchase of a few goats, Engineering Director Abie Ladson said.

This shows why Augusta is getting behind in the budget process. Ladson's flippant remark is completely false. The program will cost much more than $500, because there will be pens, supplemental food, vet bills, transportation costs, and, oh yes, there will be the expenses of the goat herder. Come to think of it, I might apply for that position.

nocnoc
47058
Points
nocnoc 05/23/14 - 08:30 am
5
2
PREDICTION

We will see some missing goat either by 4 legged Coyotes or the 2 legged kind.

Goat is still a popular meat for some cultures.

Bizkit
34262
Points
Bizkit 05/23/14 - 08:45 am
3
4
This is great and young goats

This is great and young goats are mighty tasty-it's a stringy meat as they age. It can help feed the homeless of the CSRA.

itsanotherday1
46840
Points
itsanotherday1 05/23/14 - 08:55 am
5
0
Aren't those detention ponds

Aren't those detention ponds fenced to keep both two and four legged animals out?

Butterman
3696
Points
Butterman 05/23/14 - 10:25 am
7
4
Sneak
Unpublished

Deke = Worst Mayor in The History of Augusta. A complete and utter failure.

countyman
21298
Points
countyman 05/23/14 - 10:41 am
2
9
Facts

How can the worst mayor of Augusta get over 60% of the vote in two straight elections?

I voted for Hardie Davis, but even he wouldn't have gotten over 60% if a white candidate ran or Helen Blocker Adams stayed in the race...

'' Someone is getting rich off the tax payers money. 50 years at $750,000 is a lot of money. ''

The money going into LW/Bethlehem is coming from the hotel tax and not local tax payers... I know many people on the AC dislike Augusta, but millions of people actually like Augusta... The 1.5 million visitors in Richmond County are supporting the progres..

Bizkit
34262
Points
Bizkit 05/23/14 - 11:41 am
5
1
They need to create a

They need to create a balanced ecosystem so I suggest putting a big gator in each pond too-that way you won't have too many goats. Between having a nasty Billy goat and Wally gator I doubt intruders would bother.

jimmymac
45368
Points
jimmymac 05/23/14 - 12:41 pm
0
0
GOATS
Unpublished

I predict the goats won't last a month. Target practice and back yard BBQ.

Riverman1
90290
Points
Riverman1 05/23/14 - 01:42 pm
7
2
Who Let The Goats Out?

Instead of giving Laney Walker $750,000 a year for the next FIFTY YEARS, let's just turn a heard of goats loose down there and see what happens?

TheGeorgian
432
Points
TheGeorgian 05/23/14 - 04:24 pm
3
0
I vote goat too!

I love goats and they're about the ONLY thing which will eat kudzu!

Gage Creed
18814
Points
Gage Creed 05/23/14 - 05:35 pm
2
1
Imagine if the local

Imagine if the local government kept that $750,000 in the general fund....

Radios for first responders and police?
Fleet Replacement?
Infrastructure?

It's a shame a bribe gets spent the way it does....

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