Museum roof, surplus properties on agenda

A roof to replace the one that has been leaking on the Augusta Museum of History since the museum was built is among just a few items on today's Augusta Commission agenda.

The commission, which rescheduled next Tuesday's regular meeting for today because of the Tuesday city government furlough, is expected to approve the selection of low bidder Bone Dry Roofing of Athens, Ga., to install the new roof for $214,675 using Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.

The roof wasn't installed to the manufacturer's specifications when the Reynolds Street museum was built in 1996, requiring staff to use plastic to protect exhibits for years, Museum Director Nancy Glaser has said.

Also today, the commission is expected to award a contract to Sherman and Hemstreet for real estate brokerage services for several surplus city properties. Selling the properties was eyed as a way to help cover the city's $9 million budget deficit.

Still on today's agenda is the possible revocation of the business tax certificate of Augusta Hospitality Management Group for nonpayment of $127,000 in hotel excise taxes, tourism fees and late fees, even though the company paid its bill earlier this week.

Augusta hotels collect a 6 percent excise tax on room rates, but keep 3 percent unless they're late remitting the taxes to the city, Licensing and Inspections Director Rob Sherman said.

Excise collections are higher this year, at $687,157, up from $628,978 in 2010, Sherman said.

The $1 transportation and tourism fee goes toward development of the city's new Trade, Exhibition and Event Center and redevelopment of the Laney Walker-Bethlehem area. Its collections also appear up this year, with $434,000 in as of May. In both 2010 and 2009, approximately $1 million was collected.

Augusta Hospitality Management Group owns hotels on Washington Road, Frontage Road, Riverwest Drive, Peach Orchard Road, Noland Connector, Gordon Highway, Walton Way and 15th Street.

Leaky roof adds to list of museum repairs