Recommendation to make downtown safer would bring more taxes

  • Follow City Ink

Augusta’s getting soaked. Never mind the weather. The city’s in danger of being flooded with acronyms – LOST, SPLOST, T-SPLOST, and now Sheriff Richard Roundtree, with input from City Administrator Fred Rus­sell, has floated another one: CPD.

The CPD, which stands for Continually Patrolled Dis­trict, would be a new tax for property owners in the central business district to pay for more police protection.

As you know, nature abhors a vacuum and so do elected officials, especially when it comes to taxes. Since the Bus­i­ness Improvement District met its untimely end – or timely, if you’re of that persuasion – last year, city officials are rushing to fill the void. They’ve just got to convince a majority of property owners in the district to drown themselves in more taxes.

The CPD was one of several recommendations Round­tree proposed for making downtown safer, including installing 32 security cameras on Broad Street and Riverwalk Augusta.

DON’T WORRY. THEY’LL HANDLE OUR HEALTH CARE JUST FINE: I don’t mind security cameras in public places so much, but I believe the cyber snooping by the federal government on its citizens is unconstitutional and frightening. The government is even building a massive complex out West to store it all in for perpetuity.

I was more frightened after reading that Na­tional Security Agency officials are reassuring us that our privacy is protected. They say we just don’t understand how they’re looking out for us. But how could we? We didn’t even know they were spying on us if it weren’t for Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor spilling the beans.

Here’s a post on augusta chronicle.com from commenter myfather15 that’s right on:

“Hhhhhmmmm, doesn’t sound right to begin with!! When they start working hard to ‘reassure’ us, it might be more reason for concern!! Again, someone rightly pointed out that they didn’t stop the Boston Marathon bombing AFTER Russia had warned us about the older brother!!

“Russia to America: Hey, this guy might be a radical!! He is hanging with some bad dudes!!

“America to Russia: Ok, thanks. Zzzzzzzz, Zzzzzzzzz!!!

“Oh, let’s not forget:

“Ambassador Stevens to America: Hey, we might need extra security on 9/11. We’ve got information attacks are planned!!

“America to Ambassador Stevens: OK, thanks for the warning. Zzzzzzzz, Zzzzzzzz!!!!

A LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP: Georgia Regents University is working with the Shang­hai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine to create the Confucius Institute to focus on advancing Chinese language studies and enhancing multicultural awareness.

Confucius say, “Azziz love China, hate Augusta.”

PARTING IS SUCH A LOAD OF SPEECHES: Some folks were feeling a little uptight at the farewell reception for GRU general counsel Andrew Newton last week. Others were just taking it all in.

About 100 folks, including board members Robert Osborne, Monty Os­­teen, Debbie Layman, Cobbs Nixon and former Medical College of Georgia attorney Gerald Woods were there to hear Provost Gretchen Caughman, Dean of Medicine Peter Buckley, President Ricardo Azziz and finally Newton make flattering little goodbye speeches to each other.

Nice. But it makes a person wonder why Newton’s leaving the top legal job at GRU for a staff position at Kennesaw State University after 18 years with the college. Not really.

OSCARS FOR EVERYONE! While looking for next week’s Augusta Commission agenda on the city’s Web site, my attention was diverted by Mayor Deke Copen­haver’s weekly video, and I became the 23rd person to watch it, which probably included however many times hizzoner himself viewed it.

The video, which I shall call “The Deke and Deal Show,” took place in the Kroc Center.

I must say, it was a fascinating program! Deke praised Gov. Nathan Deal for being pro-business, which gave Deal the opportunity to take credit for I don’t know how many businesses and industries rushing to Georgia because of the tax- reform package he pushed through the Legislature. And Deke got to talk about Starbucks coming to Au­gusta for the umpteenth time.

Then Deke mentioned “the state’s investment” in Au­gusta, which prompted the governor to talk once again about making GRU one of the top medical schools in the country, and how much he thought of Augusta.

If you missed it, don’t worry. You’ll get to hear the same things a time or two before next year’s election.

TRAGEDY OR COMEDY? Speaking of Oscars, Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams deserves one for his histrionics.

Last week, he said he didn’t have enough information to approve contract negotiations with McDonald Transit to take over operation of the city’s bus service when the contract with Mobil­ity Transit expires Aug. 1. He said he wanted numbers as to money and who bid what. Procurement Director Geri Sams explained that the city code prevented her from giving that information to the public until the contract is negotiated and awarded.

Williams said commissioners weren’t the public.

“We’ve got to have the information, so we can discern whether it’s good or bad,” he said.

“Once we release the information to you, it becomes public,” Sams replied.

But he couldn’t be placated.

“Why don’t we have the information we need to have?” he asked.

ORDER OUT OF CHAOS: Com­missioner Donnie Smith tried to bring clarity.

“The bottom line is if we don’t approve the contract by the end of the month, we either take it (bus service) back in-house or go to Mobility and ask for an extension or shut down?” Smith asked.

“At what point will we know the price?” he asked, and was told it would be after the negotiations.

“If they come back with a price we don’t like, we can go to the next vendor on the list. So we will have another chance to vote on it,” Smith concluded.

Russell said the city had a plan to run the buses although it wasn’t the best thing to do, which led Commissioner Grady Smith to say, “Another lawsuit.”

LOOK IN THE MIRROR: After that, it got kind of ugly. Lockett cited all the last-minute votes they’d had to make that ended in failure, Williams blamed Russell and his staff for making bad decisions. He preached fire and brimstone about Rus­sell and company not doing their jobs and that the city is headed down the “road to destruction” with the bus contract.

Russell reminded commmissioners that they set the timeline and everything else when they vote. He also reminded them that they all have different ideas about transit.

“So betwixt and between, that is what this staff is given to work with,” he said. “We have on more than one occasion listened to several of you say we don’t do our jobs. On more than one occasion, we’ve listened to you say we’re overpaid for what we do. On more than one occasion, we’ve heard you say you’re disappointed in the way we perform. You know, that works both ways.”

Comments (21) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Little Lamb
45282
Points
Little Lamb 07/13/13 - 08:31 pm
7
0
Williams is correct.

Commissioners are not the public when they discuss contract information in legal session. Sams and Russell must allow commissioners to study bid proposals before they vote on them.

Fred (What, me worry?) Russell and Geri (Don't mind the woman behind the curtain) Sams are pulling the wool over Marion Williams’ eyes (and they’re pulling dollar bills out of your and my wallets).

Little Lamb
45282
Points
Little Lamb 07/13/13 - 08:35 pm
7
0
Trust

Fred Russell said to the Augusta Commission on behalf of himself and Geri Sams:

“We have on more than one occasion listened to several of you say we don’t do our jobs. On more than one occasion, we’ve listened to you say we’re overpaid for what we do. On more than one occasion, we’ve heard you say you’re disappointed in the way we perform. You know, that works both ways.”

Well, the Commission does not trust Fred Russell nor Geri Sams; but they don’t have the courage to discharge them for dereliction of duty. That is what you call dysfunction.

TCB22
622
Points
TCB22 07/13/13 - 09:53 pm
10
0
Now, Little Lamb

You know that they have to pass the contract first so they can find out what's in it. Isn't that how it works?

dichotomy
32077
Points
dichotomy 07/13/13 - 11:39 pm
14
1
This is THE MOST

This is THE MOST dysfunctional government I have EVER seen in ANY municipality in which I have lived.... and I have lived in quite a few. The commissioners don't like or trust each other.....none of them trust the administrator and the administrator don't like or trust them. NOBODY trusts the department heads. And the taxPAYERS don't trust ANY of them. Nothing this government has ever done comes out well and mostly we get screwed and sued over almost everything they FINALLY vote to do...mostly for all of the wrong reasons. The government in Augusta sucks.

Why don't all of you commissioners, the administrator, and the Procurement people just go in a backroom somewhere and see if you can come up with as BAD a deal on this bus thing as you did with the TEE center operation and maintenance contract, or the GARBAGE contract, or your MULTIPLE attempts but still getting it WRONG deal on the PATCH. You are batting a ZERO average so why change things now. It would be totally out of character for you to get something right. The commission, the adminstator, our various departments, and the day to day operation of our government is just PATHETIC. It has been since CONSOLIDATION and it will continue to be that way.....FOREVER. The way they run our government couldn't be any worse if they ALL put paint on their face, stuck a red ball on their nose, and put their pajamas and big floppy shoes on before they set off to discharge their government duties. The only suspense would be which ones had the squeeze horn on their belt and which ones had the water squirting flower on their lapel.

Sweet son
10080
Points
Sweet son 07/14/13 - 12:13 am
6
0
Fred Russell and Geri Sams both need to be fired!

Get 'em Marion! I like the new Marion! Get on board Commission and "Just Do It!"

GnipGnop
11858
Points
GnipGnop 07/14/13 - 12:18 am
6
1
Agree 1000 times with Dichotomy

As usual he is right on wuith his comments about ARC tax meisters!!!

corgimom
31229
Points
corgimom 07/14/13 - 03:26 am
4
2
You gotta love Dichotomy, he

You gotta love Dichotomy, he hits the nail on the head. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Bodhisattva
5986
Points
Bodhisattva 07/14/13 - 05:31 am
6
1
Tax reform?

We now have an 8% sales tax. Please stop reforming.

Riverman1
82264
Points
Riverman1 07/14/13 - 06:21 am
6
0
GRU-Shanghai

“Georgia Regents University is working with the Shang¬hai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine to create the Confucius Institute to focus on advancing Chinese language studies and enhancing multicultural awareness.”

How much is this cockamamie idea going to cost the taxpayers of Georgia? GRU-Shanghai using herbal medicine? I hope Azziz and his cronies have been enjoying their trips to China. We know they will be taking more.

Riverman1
82264
Points
Riverman1 07/14/13 - 06:41 am
7
2
Black Hawk Down

Dichotomy, in his frustration, explains the current abysmal situation of Richmond County government with a pessimistic realism that makes us all understand something must be done or give up and treat the county like Somali without a government ruled by various warlords. Just parachute bags of rice in to feed the people now and then out of kindness, but never fly the helicopter too low over the machine guns firing from the back of Toyota trucks.

To save the county one of the warlords has to gain control. A strong black mayor presiding over a majority black commission would finally end this guerilla civil war on the commission, keep the factions in line and create an effective government. The remaining white commissioners and competent experts such as Bonnie Ruben could act as advisors in a tactful manner and together they could finally begin the work of administering the county.

CobaltGeorge
155319
Points
CobaltGeorge 07/14/13 - 08:00 am
6
1
Be Prepared ARC

There is a new tax in the making "Lack Of Water Usage TAX"

Due to the 2 months of heavy rain, WE have lost a lot of water revenue because nobody is using OUR water to water their lawns......

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 07/14/13 - 09:41 am
0
0
Augusta Regional announces daily non stop flights to Shanghai
Unpublished

Augusta Regional announces daily non stop flights to Shanghai

soapy_725
43672
Points
soapy_725 07/14/13 - 09:42 am
0
0
Augusta Regional announces daily non stop flights to Detroit
Unpublished

Augusta Regional announces daily non stop flights to Detroit

seenitB4
85392
Points
seenitB4 07/14/13 - 11:48 am
7
1
I understand your concept RM

To save the county one of the warlords has to gain control. A strong black mayor presiding over a majority black commission would finally end this guerilla civil war on the commission

BUT..it doesn't always work that way...take Clayton & DeKalb county for instance....majority black government.....both have been in major trouble with school board & governing.....when the black voter learns that it is NOT the color they should be looking at, but rather the qualifications & experience ..that my friend is when it will work.

Duende
9
Points
Duende 07/14/13 - 01:56 pm
2
0
Get Augusta moving then it might build into something worth

Living in .
They act like Augusta is such a terror town. What they need to focus on is getting more buses on them bus routes and splitting the routes up . Get a train to expand out to Washington rd to Hephzibah, with bus routes out that a way too. Augusta is so country and dead looking. They need to get transportation for the county of Richmond and stop talking about the crime problem that they really don't have.They need to keep the bus lines open all night for people can have a way to get to work and actually move around in the city.Need real leaders in the city that listen to citizens and really think.

Sweet son
10080
Points
Sweet son 07/14/13 - 02:33 pm
3
0
I am with Seenit! When will they learn?

Voting for skin color has not worked well in Metro Atlanta. The Atlanta Public School system, the Dekalb County Board and Commission, the Sheriff's Office in Clayton County and others always make for entertaining reading. But the sad thing is that if you ask those who are indicted or caught in impropriety always say they have done nothing and try to defer their problems to others. I guess it is just a survival instinct.

Darby
25053
Points
Darby 07/14/13 - 03:49 pm
2
1
"How much is this cockamamie idea going to

cost the taxpayers of Georgia? GRU-Shanghai using herbal medicine?"

.
Is it true that they're gonna have an entire department devoted to acupuncture?

harley_52
22989
Points
harley_52 07/14/13 - 03:59 pm
1
0
dichotomy...11:39 pm...

Wraps it up and ties a bow on it quite nicely.

nocnoc
41191
Points
nocnoc 07/14/13 - 07:31 pm
1
0
Why stick around

and the last one here and turn out the lights?

An exit plan to a lower cost tax area mean more foods and other items.

Got a problem add a TAX
Got another problem add another TAX.

The problem is these taxes don't fix problems they grow them, or used the problem to generate more new or increased Taxes.

I don't have the data but has any of these "Special" taxes ever expired and NOT been renewed and immediately replaced with a new "Special" tax?

After all these taxes and the growing number of freeloaders, power brokers, and politicians that benefit from them, I come to the point it is time to demand that TAX PAYERS only be allowed to vote on new taxes.

Riverman1
82264
Points
Riverman1 07/14/13 - 07:58 pm
2
0
SeenIt and Sweetson, the

SeenIt and Sweetson, the reality is racial politics exist all over America. It's nothing unique to Augusta or Atlanta.

corgimom
31229
Points
corgimom 07/15/13 - 04:26 pm
1
0
Yeah, but totally incompent

Yeah, but totally incompent government, Riverman- THAT is unique to Augusta!

They couldn't plan an ice-cream social if you gave them the ice cream, bowls, and spoons.

First they'd have to do a study. Then they'd get the study results.

Then they'd want to privatize it.

Then the company that they hired to privatize it would totally mess it up.

Then Paul Simon would step in and say that he'd run it, for a chunk of the revenue.

Then Billy Morris would ask that it be held at the TEE Center, to try and have that facility used for one more day a year, so that it would only be empty 98.5% of the time, not 99%.

Fred Russell would mess up the contract, Al Gray would have to audit it and show the numerous ways that Fred messed it up, Baskin-Robbins would sue the City of Augusta because Geri Sams procured the ice cream illegally, and Countyman would issue posts on how Augusta is a world-class city because it had an ice-cream social.

Did I get it about right?

corgimom
31229
Points
corgimom 07/15/13 - 04:29 pm
1
0
Oh, and then there would be

Oh, and then there would be an Operation Thunder checkpoint afterwards, to make sure that people didn't get drunk eating the Rum Raisin ice cream.

Almost forgot that.

Darby
25053
Points
Darby 07/15/13 - 05:00 pm
1
0
No fair....

I really LOVE rum raisin ice cream....

Back to Top

Top headlines

Officers tell of trauma from taking life

Although every experience is different, officers who take a life often experience severe bouts of depression, alcoholism, marital problems, sleepless nights and feelings of being alone in the ...
Search Augusta jobs