Copenhaver lays out plans for Augusta's future

Mayor Deke Copenhaver said if the voters who re-elected him Tuesday like what he's done so far, they'll love what he's going to do next with the new members of the Augusta Commission.

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Mayor Deke Copenhaver was re-elected Tuesday by 64 percent of voters.   File/Staff
File/Staff
Mayor Deke Copenhaver was re-elected Tuesday by 64 percent of voters.

"There's nothing we can't do now that we have the strong team we have now," he said. "It's taken a few years to put the team together, but the citizens are going to be proud of this commission."

Copenhaver was re-elected with 64.3 percent of the vote, while two incumbent commissioners he supported were also swept back into office by decisive margins. One of the two newcomers he supported for commission seats also won.

Incumbent District 2 Commissioner Corey Johnson was re-elected with 65.5 percent of the votes; District 4 Commissioner Alvin Mason with 62.2 percent, and newcomer Wayne Guilfoyle, whom the mayor called "a long-time friend," won the most votes among three candidates in District 8 but might be facing a recount that could lead to a runoff against Doug Lively.

"One key thing here is all incumbents running without opposition got over 60 percent," he said. "I think that is an endorsement of the way this government is running and the way we're handling ourselves."

Don't think, however, that Copenhaver plans to ease up anytime soon. He has plans, one of the first ones being to "put the house in order" and give City Administrator Fred Russell the authority to run the day-to-day operations of the government.

"And that I would like to do within the next three months," he said.

Before year's end, the city must balance a proposed general-fund budget with a $9.4 million deficit without a big property-tax increase or drastically cutting services.

"I think restructuring is going to be key," he said. "That's going to save us several million dollars."

There has been much speculation that some long-time employees will be asked to retire, and some employees will be terminated, but the mayor would not elaborate on that.

"We're not exactly sure how it's going to work, but I trust our finance department and our administrator to work with the commission to try for a budget we can all live with," he said.

Within the next six months, he said he would like to see the city move forward on some of the initiatives outlined in the Augusta Sustainable Development Agenda. Within the next year, he expects to see more major economic development, such as Costco, which announced last week it will build a store at the Village at Riverwatch property.

"Within the next four years, I would like to see Augusta become a sustainable model for smart growth and development and see us further our reputation as a world-class mid-size city," he said.

Copenhaver said he also wants to continue the city's community re-development initiatives, such as the Laney-Walker/Bethlehem model that is slated to receive $37.5 million from hotel-motel taxes over 50 years.

When asked whether he will continue to push for a baseball stadium on the Golf and Gardens property, he said he had been saying for years that his ultimate goal was to get the property out from under a government bureaucracy and back on the tax rolls.

"And I firmly believe the private sector should have the predominant influence on the development of the property," he said. "I believe it could work as a public/private partnership, but we have to see what the private sector is willing to bring to the table."

When asked whether he will speak out more about crime in Augusta, which was opponent Lori Davis' challenge to him during the campaign, he said he would continue to work with the sheriff on crime issues and actively engage the community in helping.

"The prayer vigil and march at Thankful Baptist Church was a good first step, and we need to build on that," he said.

On a personal level, Copenhaver said he wants to cut 30 minutes off of his Iron Man contest time next year.

Goals for Augusta

RICHMOND COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 6 INCUMBENT JACK PADGETT: Touted increasing the graduation rate, decreasing the dropout rate, and continuing to manage the district's finances during prolonged tough economic times.

The district must effectively use federal grant money it has received or is expected to get shortly, and brace for another expected mid-year state funding cut, he said. Those grants include Race to the Top, from which Richmond County is expected to receive $16.6 million in a four-year period, and the School Improvement Grants, which saw about $1 million each awarded to improvement efforts at Glenn Hills, Josey and Laney high schools.

SUPER DISTRICT 10 COMMISSIONER-ELECT GRADY SMITH: He expressed an immediate interest in eliminating "Mickey Mouse" perks, starting at the commission level, that might be extravagant during lean times, communicating with companies interested in doing business here and examining ways to avoid furloughing employees who might already be experiencing hardships.

WAYNE GUILFOYLE, WHO COULD FACE A RUNOFF FOR THE DISTRICT 8 COMMISSION SEAT: Three to six months from now, he hopes to be meeting with department heads to figure out ways to improve efficiency and save money. A year from now, Guilfoyle said, he hopes to have his platform of creating jobs and fostering growth in south Richmond County well under way.

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PetsArePeopleToo
0
Points
PetsArePeopleToo 11/04/10 - 01:05 am
0
0
I am not surprised that the

I am not surprised that the crime was mentioned in the later part of this article .

Brad Owens
4096
Points
Brad Owens 11/04/10 - 02:05 am
0
0
I support three things that I

I support three things that I know will move Augusta forward;

1.) Give thye mayor a vote. (Senator Davis should lead that fight.)

2.) Give the Administrator hire/fire authority with a super majority over-ride/veto by commissioners. (The Mandate Mayor and his 'Team' should do that themselves.)

3.) Make a majority vote of a quorum present pass any item. (Senator Davis will need to lead this fight too.)

The Mayor won, and I am not a sour grapes kinda guy, but Deke had better DO something this time instead of prayer/campaign breakfasts and feel good facebook rhetoric.

Time to be true to your word Deke, and DO something.

Brad

tckr1983
360
Points
tckr1983 11/04/10 - 02:47 am
0
0
So basically... everything

So basically... everything Augustan's had already known (costco, laney-walker, golf-n-gardens/baseball stadium) except, Fred Russell has been given more authority (hopefully) in the city government... the title is slightly misleading.

I was expecting some "brand new, flashy" idea that the good mayor was going to be inacting in a way that would make this city wake up tomorrow and it not recognize itself. You know, kinda like the Simpsons? When they got the monorail? (Not endorsing a monorail here in Augusta jsyk) But, this is up there with the bike racks on the city buses story... what story? It's a bike rack!

Harrisburgsurvivor
2
Points
Harrisburgsurvivor 11/04/10 - 10:51 am
0
0
Deke never had a platform and

Deke never had a platform and he refused to debate Lori Davis. I perdict that voters will sour to Dekebamas' win within the next two years just like Obama. Dekebama, Dekebama, Dekebama!

lifelongresident
1317
Points
lifelongresident 11/04/10 - 08:00 am
0
0
what about crime??? here's an
Unpublished

what about crime??? here's an idea mayor how about community policing?? for one staffing the substation in cherry tree crossing 24/7/365, you know getting the cops out of the cars and doing constant foot patrols....well i guess that's not a good idea because it's no grand enuff, nor will it grab headlines, but it will sure be effective in deterring crime

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 11/27/10 - 04:44 pm
0
0
*

*

jasonpilgrim
0
Points
jasonpilgrim 11/04/10 - 09:22 am
0
0
Mr. Mayor please address

Mr. Mayor please address crime in our city. People are dying (33 to be exact) in our streets as we sit and admire our accomplishments of the past. Prayer w/o works is dead.

jasonpilgrim
0
Points
jasonpilgrim 11/04/10 - 09:22 am
0
0
Mr. Mayor please address

Mr. Mayor please address crime in our city. People are dying (33 to be exact) in our streets as we sit and admire our accomplishments of the past. Prayer w/o works is dead.

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 11/04/10 - 09:27 am
0
0
LOL...Augusta gets just what

LOL...Augusta gets just what it deserved...while sweeping changes were being made all over the Country....Augusta /Richmond County stayed the same......sad.

CATFISHSTEW
14
Points
CATFISHSTEW 11/04/10 - 09:28 am
0
0
Get a cop on foot patrol in

Get a cop on foot patrol in Cherry Tree...NO volunteers for that job. While walking the beat the patrol car would be stolenor the cop robbed or worst..

PetsArePeopleToo
0
Points
PetsArePeopleToo 11/04/10 - 09:33 am
0
0
Perhaps we need to asked for

Perhaps we need to asked for a "Rolling Prayer" group to disburse about the problem areas in Augusta weekly ,that may help.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 11/04/10 - 10:16 am
0
0
For all of you who think the

For all of you who think the Mayor can curb all the crime, espically in places like Cherry Tree Crossing, you are wrong. He can no more change their outlook or morals about what is right or wrong. Lifelong, foot patrols sound like a good idea but what about emergency call and response time. Someone would complain then. There is no real good answer except to hire more police to work the high crime areas and make the people who live in those areas pay an extra fee on their tax bills for the service.

Riverman1
78408
Points
Riverman1 11/04/10 - 10:43 am
0
0
I gave Deke his

I gave Deke his congratulations yesterday and now it’s time to focus on the issues again. Deke has to realize the people want a strong mayor who will lead the fight to repair the major problems Augusta has with crime and a city workforce permeated with corruption, dishonesty and inefficiency.

Instead he relies on a laid out PR vote procuring campaign of photo ops, prayer breakfasts in churches and beginning organizations such as the one to help Haiti that he wants all school kids and city employees to donate to for “long haul.”

The truth is Deke was an absolute nonentity in politics, with little experience in anything except hanging out at the beach, when the Boardmans came up with the idea to make him mayor. They obviously knew how to do it and this nice guy has been pleasing in public, but he is about as realistic as Countyman when it comes to working on major, real problems the city has.

I don’t care if Clay Boardman has Jenny Sanford “shake his hand” on Broad Street in front of TV cameras and everyone, it won’t work unless Deke gets dirty and goes to work and starts acting like a mayor instead of Casper Milquetoast.

countyman
18832
Points
countyman 11/04/10 - 10:48 am
0
0
The mayor won the election

The mayor won the election with a mandate. Deke received 64% of the vote compared to the 17% Gil and Lori both got...

The people of Richmond County have clearly spoken. The majority of the population knows Deke works tirelessly on the issues affecting Augusta daily. The mayor addresses crime and other community issues on his facebook page frequently..

The chronicle decided where to print the paragraph on 'crime' in the article...

What have majority the posters on here done about the crime in Augusta? Besides living outside of Richmond County and getting on here telling us how bad certain problems are...

On October 26th the mayor attended the Stop the Violence prayer vigil and march at Thankful Baptist Church.

I'm 100% sure the posters who are complaining didn't attend the march..

Riverman1
78408
Points
Riverman1 11/04/10 - 10:46 am
0
0
"The mayor addresses crime

"The mayor addresses crime and other issues on his facebook page frequently."

Hahaha

raul
3954
Points
raul 11/04/10 - 10:49 am
0
0
RE: WW 1949..."There is no

RE: WW 1949..."There is no real good answer except to hire more police to work the high crime areas and make the people who live in those areas pay an extra fee on their tax bills for the service." Not quite sure I understood your remark WW 1949. Most people who live in these areas pay no taxes. Did I misunderstand?

countyman
18832
Points
countyman 11/04/10 - 11:01 am
0
0
You're underestimating the

You're underestimating the power of the mayor's facebook...

Here's two of the post made by the mayor recently..

1. (Posted 14 hours ago) 29 people clicked liked and 10 people commented..

2. (Posted yesterday at 7:25 am) 39 people clicked liked and 7 people commented..

Harrisburgsurvivor
2
Points
Harrisburgsurvivor 11/04/10 - 11:00 am
0
0
countyman You nor Gilyard did

countyman You nor Gilyard did not attend the stop the violence at
Greatful baptist but I did I carried this "CLOSE (((KNOWN))) DRUG HOUSES,NOW" sign.
Please everyone who is also on Face Book, Please go to this page and add this "CLOSE (KNOWN) DRUG HOUSES, NOW!" badge to your profile pic and then add it to your Chronicle pic: http://www.picbadges.com/close-known-drug-houses/20183/

countyman
18832
Points
countyman 11/04/10 - 11:14 am
0
0
You don't know if I attended

You don't know if I attended the march or not..

I didn't vote for Gil Gilyard this election..I voted for Deke Copenhaver who did attend the march..

The truth can't be denied, Gil and Lori received around the same number of votes..

Lori Davis is similar to her friend Butch Palmer. Who traveled to West Augusta to videotape Deke's home in Conifer Place. Neither Lori or Butch have much clout outside of Harrisburg..

Riverman1
78408
Points
Riverman1 11/04/10 - 11:26 am
0
0
I must have visited Deke's

I must have visited Deke's Facebook page when he was having a bad day. He was complaining that Austin Rhodes was unfair to him in a somewhat bizarre way. He pulled that the next morning....when he, uh, felt better, I guess.

Riverman1
78408
Points
Riverman1 11/04/10 - 11:28 am
0
0
"Lori Davis is similar to her

"Lori Davis is similar to her friend Butch Palmer. Who traveled to West Augusta to videotape Deke's home in Conifer Place."

Lori Davis is videoing Deke's or some other official's house too?

ruudvonbaron
0
Points
ruudvonbaron 11/04/10 - 11:37 am
0
0
"I think that is an

"I think that is an endorsement of the way this government is running and the way we're handling ourselves."
---------------------------
I hope you sheep that kept Deke remember this 4 years from now.

Riverman1
78408
Points
Riverman1 11/04/10 - 11:40 am
0
0
That probably wasn't even

That probably wasn't even Butch Palmer who was videoing Deke's house. It was probably one of those California paparazzi guys thinking Clay Boardman and Jenny Sanford were there and he wanted to catch them holding hands.

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 11/04/10 - 12:38 pm
0
0
how about doing something

how about doing something about the double taxation called "urban services" that was supposed to disappear when the old city bonds
were paid off. did we consolidate or not? seems the only additional service we "urbans" get is more crime.............

Lori Davis
737
Points
Lori Davis 11/04/10 - 12:44 pm
0
0
Countyman, I post regularly

Countyman, I post regularly and I attended the prayer service and march at Thankful. I have been working tirelessly in my own neighborhood with no results after two years. I am not like Butch Palmer and if you have ever been around me, you would know this. I had nothing to do with Butch Palmer taping the Mayor's house. Since you know so much about our Mayor, why not ask him what type of person I am. He and I have been nothing but cordial to one another and I believe that he would tell you that I am a class act. It would surprise me if he said anything else.

countyman
18832
Points
countyman 11/04/10 - 01:35 pm
0
0
Lori, I applaud your

Lori, I applaud your tirelessly efforts made during the election... Your candidancy brought some important issues affecting Augusta to the forefront...

But it doesn't change the fact you received 17% of the vote... Your supporters on here didn't help you out.. 90% of the time the comments were bashing Deke instead of telling us your plans for improving Augusta.

Harrisburgsurvivor
2
Points
Harrisburgsurvivor 11/04/10 - 01:59 pm
0
0
lifelongresident.... African

lifelongresident.... African American deaths do not matter to our local racist government. Most of the deaths have been victims who are involved with Augustas' (KNOWN) DRUG HOUSES. The long term plan is to lower the Augusta property values so developers can rush in to buy them cheaply. How many (KNOWN) DRUG HOUSES do you think we have here?

PetsArePeopleToo
0
Points
PetsArePeopleToo 11/04/10 - 02:01 pm
0
0
I recall reading the agenda

I recall reading the agenda for all the candidants , in the AC . I personally choose to support Mrs. Davis based upon her plans for the entire city and the betterment for all the people . I supported our current major in the past and felt that Augusta was not moving in a postive direction which lead me to vote for change which would have clearly happened if Mrs. Davis would have won . Supporters of this fine candidate were stating the facts of the condition of our city which reflects the leadership of those in charge . I must admit that I was once part of the mint julep drinking , rose colored blinder glasses wearing , singing Kumbaya group that only read about what happened to everyone else : doing nothing but shaking my head thats awful. I am happy that my eyes have been opened and its not pretty.

bojangles
0
Points
bojangles 11/04/10 - 02:15 pm
0
0
Countyman, You are a such a

Countyman,

You are a such a classy guy. I am going to go out on a limb here and speak for everyone in thanking you for your tireless efforts to improve Augusta. In these troubling times, you remain a beacon of unreasonable optimism and for that I thank you. Anytime I feeling a little down about myself, I pull up the Augusta Chronicle online, read about the latest murder, and then enjoy one of your posts about statistics. Having such a world class statistician who is also a leading political analyst is such a blessing. You sir, are the reason I have unwavering faith in our future. Aside from my undergraduate degrees in politcal science and education, my Masters in Public Administration from the number two school in the country, I would have nothing if it were not for your insight.

Harrisburgsurvivor
2
Points
Harrisburgsurvivor 11/04/10 - 02:25 pm
0
0
Brad Owens ... Do you

Brad Owens ... Do you support closing (KNOWN) drug houses now?

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