Speedboat race organizers balk at Ports Authority fee

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 7:41 PM
Last updated Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 12:48 AM
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Call it a nearly $4,465 difference of opinion.

That’s about how far apart organizers of the Augusta Southern Nationals speedboat race are from the Augusta Ports Authority on the matter of a new user fee imposed this year. Race organizers say the cost should be less than $35; Ports Authority officials have billed them for $4,500.

The fee, adopted by the Ports Authority in March, exacts a 50 cent-per-ticket charge from all events that use the authority’s riverfront facilities. The authority is empowered by state and local law to impose fees by resolution, passed by authority members.

Wayne Hawkins, the authority chairman, said the fee was necessary to maintain those facilities, such as the boathouse and docks, which are used at several events each year.

“Every time there is an event things get damaged,” Hawkins said. “That’s just the way it is.”

Hawkins said the city has reduced the authority’s funding in recent years, making it more difficult to keep up with maintenance and buy new equipment.

He said other events, such as A Day in the Country, the ESi Ironman Triathlon and Paddlefest have paid what was due without protest.

“I have not received a dime from the Southern Nationals,” he said.

Hawkins said the Southern Nationals chairman, Dayton Sherrouse, interpreted the Ports Authority’s fee resolution in a way that makes them responsible for a fraction of what they should be paying.

The resolution states that event organizers will pay 50 cents for “each registrant, participant or ticket sold” for any event or competition. It also states that in lieu of the participant fee, the authority can charge a flat fee of $1,500 per day.

Sherrouse acknowledges that he disagrees with the fee in principle, on the grounds that the Southern Nationals is a nonprofit event that promotes tourism in Augusta and raises money for charity. He said the event donated about $5,000 to the Special Olympics this year.

“We were against them passing that resolution to start with,” he said. “We started this race at the request of the city 27 years ago to get something going on the river. This is taking money away that we can give to the charity.”

Sherrouse points to other language in the resolution that states event sponsors can choose whether they will pay the participant fee or the day use fee.

“We decided we would select the option for a 50-cent charge per registrant,” he said, calculating that with about 65 boats registered for this year’s race, he would owe less than $35.

“(Hawkins) has sent an invoice for $4,500, which we have not paid,” Sherrouse said.

Hawkins said he was tired of fighting about the fee, but that doesn’t mean he will let it drop.

“You would think that after 27 years of having this event, with the Ports Authority still having to supplement it, they ought to be standing on their own by now,” he said. “I’m willing to let it go for $4,500.”

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SemperParatus
3225
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SemperParatus 11/28/12 - 09:28 pm
9
3
A suggestion...

Take it to the lake!

Riverrunner30909
149
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Riverrunner30909 11/28/12 - 10:43 pm
0
1
The Lake is not safe.
Unpublished

The Lake has too much Chop to be real practical for Drag Boats, plus there is not place on the lake that has the a place to hold that many viewers. The lake for Drag Boats had proved horrible in the past and would do so again. If the city wants to lose the revenue just dont have it anylonger and let it foolishly lower the bar another notch for this hell forbidden of a place. The Idiots in the city management are mealy mouthing this city to the depths of no return thru pure Stupidity.

dichotomy
37496
Points
dichotomy 11/28/12 - 11:37 pm
10
1
Have you seen the rooster

Have you seen the rooster tails those boats throw up in the air? Maybe the Porst Authority can charge them a RAIN TAX. I'm telling you these nickel dime pee ants we have running things around here have wet dreams about taxes and fees.

Maybe North Augusta could figure out what they need to do to steal the Southern Nationals.

EVERYTHING IS CHEAPER IN NORTH AUGUSTA.

Young Fred
21135
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Young Fred 11/29/12 - 01:21 am
8
1
“I have not received a dime

“I have not received a dime from the Southern Nationals,” he said.

What a shallow statement!!!

Maybe the authority should lobby to get a few thousand more of the tax dollars generated by this event.

Riverman1
93737
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Riverman1 11/29/12 - 04:30 am
9
2
This is misguided. The city

This is misguided. The city should be paying them to come here.

Riverman1
93737
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Riverman1 11/29/12 - 04:42 am
9
2
By the way

By the way, it would be interesting to see exactly how much organizations will pay the Marriott to use the TEE Center. Tell me one more time why the TEE was built? Was it to bring people into town?

Brad Owens
4906
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Brad Owens 11/29/12 - 06:38 am
8
0
Damages?

I have no problem with making the renter pay for any and all repairs related to damages caused by their event. Simple I think.

On another note; Wayne says they have had their funding cut from the city, why hasn't the city cut other boards and authorities?

OpenCurtain
10049
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OpenCurtain 11/29/12 - 06:52 am
9
0
Government At Work

* No Fun Without a Fun Tax.

* Who are the numb skull ticking off a Golden Goose?

* This event brings $,$$$,$$$ in related business to Augusta and $,$$$ for charities.

----------------------
Why do we have a Port Authority?
I have not seen any commercial DOT type traffic up and down this river to/from Augusta, after 1980 or 1981. Since it is an event and not really Commercial DOT type traffic, get rid of the Port Authority and umbrella the responsibility under the Tourism or another A-RC better suited dept.

There, I have just saved A-RC untold (or admitted ) 100's of Thousands of $$$ a year.

Little Lamb
49092
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Little Lamb 11/29/12 - 07:45 am
7
0
Balk

The headline says the race organizers are balking at the fee. It's time for Richmond County taxpayers to balk at Fred (What, me worry?) Russell's stormwater fee. As presented in this newspaper, they have created a formula for collecting the fee, but they have not told us how the money is to be administered, what it is to be used for, what it is not to be used for, who approves expenditures — nada.

I'll bet they want the stormwater fee to be a slush fund available for any cockamamie project Russell or any six commissioners want to spend money on.

No accountability.

single parent
395
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single parent 11/29/12 - 07:57 am
6
1
Again

Here we go again,again and again with these people in this darn city. This is why we have nothing of interest here. We have the Masters and it actually is not the biggest money maker! All the land around the nationals was purchased and just sitting there. Golf hall of fame? Ok why not football or another sport that the mass is intersted in. We have a military base here and I can bet you the majority of the young miltary men/women between 18-30 or young men/women between 18-30 outside the base are really giving a flying bean about the masters. THese are the people spending there money at first friday, special events, buying cars, keeping the mall going and just basic spending. So they put all the eggs into the masters? NOw we are going to loose the nationals? Something that those same 18-30 year olds look forward to? Look around folks Aiken, N Augusta and Columbia county are doing there thing and Augusta is becoming a "GHOST" town! The demographics of the area does 'NOT" support BS like the T center and the Masters! These knuckle heads running this city have turned down pro sports teams and the NHRA, WHY? I will tell you why " It is no fun when the rabbit got the gun!"
PS We have musicians that will never come to "AUGUSTA" ever again because of the way they were treated and they never cared about the size of our building it was the man that made his home here, which made it attractive to publicity for the groups.But what did they get? The same type thing the port whom ever they are is doing! There is nothing wrong with being the leader just do not lead us to poison water!
Matter of fact go look at the documents concerning our JB Arena and the size it was suppose to be also who had the idea of the size and where to put it. Then look at how that same person went to jail and the arena got built in the spot it is in! Look and see who owns it (the land),but the person that did not want it there went to jail for basically land grabbing? Now think Tcenter,follow the bouncing ball!

Little Lamb
49092
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Little Lamb 11/29/12 - 08:29 am
4
0
Language

We learn from the story that the recently-passed Ports Authority resolution states that event organizers will pay 50 cents for “each registrant, participant or ticket sold” for any event or competition. That little pesky word "or" makes Dayton Sherrouse's interpretation of the resolution correct. He wants to pay fifty cents for each registrant in the race, which is about $35.

And on another matter: Ports Authority chairman Wayne Hawkins said that other events, such as A Day in the Country, the ESi Ironman Triathlon and Paddlefest have paid what was due without protest. What Hawkins did not say was how much those organizations paid. It is a dirty little secret that facility rentals are negotiable. It is quite likely that those organizations got a sweeter deal than Southern Nationals did. I hope Steve Crawford can set the rental fee record straight in a follow-up.

JRC2024
10491
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JRC2024 11/29/12 - 08:36 am
3
0
Southern Nationals could just

Southern Nationals could just cut the amount they give to charities by the amount of the fee they are required to pay.

countyman
21632
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countyman 11/29/12 - 10:17 am
2
1
Every single event should be

Every single event should be require to pay for their repairs.

Single Parent. Can I ask the the name of event who generates more revenue than the Masters? The Masters is by far the biggest revenue source compared to any other festival, event, concert, etc. The Masters is so huge for the city we've created the Mayors masters reception, par 3 party, red carpet event, etc around the event.

I also don't see how N. Augusta, Aiken, and Columbia County are doing there thing, but Augusta is becoming a quote 'ghost town'... Augusta isn't even competing against Columbus, Macon, and Athens in terms of visitor spending. The city is definitely not in competition with it's suburbs.

Richmond had $380 million in 2009, and Columbia county was listed at 114 million...

http://www.georgia.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/Industries/Tourism/Indust...

countyman
21632
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countyman 11/29/12 - 10:20 am
2
1
don't make sense

It wouldn't make sense for North Augusta to take on the event, because they wouldn't gain anything in return.. The overwhelmingly majority of visitors at the event would patronize downtown Augusta over North Augusta. The visitors for instance who travel to the Nike Peach Jam every year mostly stay at the hotels in Augusta.

The city started construction on the TEE Center, because the taxpaying citizens of Richmond County voted for the building. The opinions of the majority of RC citizens are far more important than people who don't live in the county. The majority of people living in Richmond County obviously realize every successful city has a convention center. Thanks to the TEE Center for the $1.2 million 9 apts/4k sq. ft. of commercial space, $6 million Holiday Inn Express, new restaurants, etc. Keep in mind the revenue, foot traffic, etc coming next year. Thousands of people will have to shop, dine, and sleep in Augusta.

single parent
395
Points
single parent 11/29/12 - 10:49 am
1
1
@ countyman: Can I ask the

@ countyman: Can I ask the the name of event who generates more revenue than the Masters? Horses and rowing Sir, which DOES NOT DELETE FUNDS YEAR AROUND. Nobody thinks about the rest of the year while all of this stuff is sitting idle, now do they? Ok, it is a decent size venue, well why are we not gaining from it, in name or year around events? Mind you I am a golfer since childhood,college athelete, blah blah blah. Enough said read between the lines.
I also don't see how N. Augusta, Aiken, and Columbia County are doing there thing. Do you go to these areas? They are always full and busy, as opposed to the direct Augusta area which is not. My friend this is a simple deduction. Look around at the growth in these areas and now look at our growth. Now what are we showing for it, a darn T center, which mind you needs things to do around the events and where might those things to do be? These knuckle heads cannot even handle first Friday or should I say do not want to.
When you say it(Masters) is good for business,well exactly what businesses are you talking about? I live in an area ( South Augusta) where my house is paid for along with my other two houses respectively in N Augusta and Aiken county.
For the guy that states all cities realize they need a Convention center, well you need the area to support that cause. Right now moral is not up to par in order to support that! We have an idol Civic Center and a Vacant mall, but yet we need a Tcenter?
We first need to figure out why we are the home of James Brown and the Masters and find out why in short haired hamsters people flee to Columbia,Atlanta, Charlotte and other out sourced places for entertainment. I can bet you a whole pig you "WILL NOT" see the Stones or Prince in this city. Been here since 1976 seen the fall and this whole thing unfold. Bad part is the same folks that are not exactly city officials running this city. POINT BLANK!!!! But we have the Masters? WOW!

single parent
395
Points
single parent 11/29/12 - 10:53 am
2
0
PS

I can bet you the other places Columbia county, N Augusta and Aiken at least cut their darn grass along the Roads and not just around the areas where "GOLF" fans might see once a year! So if the grass ain't cut the house is most likely dirty!!

OpenCurtain
10049
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OpenCurtain 11/29/12 - 11:14 am
5
0
I would like to recommend

County Man for the position of : Director of Augusta Tourism & Information.

Deployed
413
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Deployed 11/29/12 - 11:48 am
6
0
Just charge $1 more per

Just charge $1 more per ticket. $.50 each goes to the Port Authroity, they're happy. $.50 each to charity, they're happy. $1 extra per ticket is not going to keep people away from the event. What other 'major' problems do these people have that we can solve for them. Geez, be done with it and move on to something else.

countyman
21632
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countyman 11/29/12 - 11:58 am
2
1
Single Parent. I do agree

Single Parent. I do agree that Augusta does need additional things to do.. There's no water park, etc here in the city. However, some of your comments are way off base.

There are zero large horsing events in Augusta, and the Regetta can't match up with the Masters... I hope you're not comparing any horsing event in Aiken versus the Masters either.

Exactly what is so busy about North Augusta, Aiken, or Columbia County compared to Augusta? I've been to all of those areas before,, and maybe you should visit Harlem, Jackson, Beech Island, etc in those counties.. All you have to do is visit Washington rd, Village at Riverwatch, Surrey Center, Augusta Exchange, downtown, Augusta mall, etc are those car tags stay in Richmond County.

In terms of recent growth Evans does have a new Taxslayer office, and the Bridgestone development is great for Aiken County.. That's still no comparison for the NSA, Medical Commons, Starbucks, Rockwood, Georgia Power, Hoe2suites By Hilton, Medac exapnsion, Residence Inn by Marriott, $30 million I-520 widening, $21 million Wrightsboro rd widening, parking lot expansion at the airport, 200 acre Augusta Regional industrial park/ $7 million general perry smith parkway, etc.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 11/29/12 - 02:27 pm
1
2
Bologna
Unpublished

The TEE center as is it is now is NOT what voters passed. If we knew who would be calling the shots and who would be getting all the returns without any of the risks it would have been voted down. Then again the voters in Augusta are so clueless as to what they are even voting for it might have still passed....BTW who really rides around to parking lots and looks at every car tag? That's the most asinine comment I have ever seen.

Little Lamb
49092
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Little Lamb 11/29/12 - 02:00 pm
1
0
Taxes

Although he is off topic, Countyman posted:

In terms of recent growth Evans does have a new Taxslayer office.

After Congress gets through monkeying with the tax code in the name of "fiscal cliff" or "fairness" or whatever you want to call it, the tax preparation and tax avoidance industries will be expanding like crazy. Tax avoidance is the next bubble.

TrulyWorried
16522
Points
TrulyWorried 11/29/12 - 02:21 pm
2
1
Parking facility for TEE Center

Did it ever get opened or is it still just using up electricity with its burning light bulbs which look odd in an empty building. ?????
Last time I passed by nothing was going on.

Riverman1
93737
Points
Riverman1 11/29/12 - 02:25 pm
3
0
Single Parent and Countyman

Single Parent and Countyman seem to understand each other well.

Little Lamb
49092
Points
Little Lamb 11/29/12 - 02:30 pm
2
1
Director of TEE

Why didn't we think of telling our commissioners to hire Countyman to run the TEE Center? He could have done it way cheaper than Paul Simon will.

Little Lamb
49092
Points
Little Lamb 11/29/12 - 02:34 pm
2
0
@TrulyWorried

The new Marriott parking deck is up and running I've walked through there a couple of times and there are cars parking on levels 1 and 2. There is an employee of some entity working in the collection booth.

I haven't heard of the official grand opening of the TEE Center yet, but there are employees of some entity working there keeping the floors swept and the handrails polished. Some entity is paying the light bills.

my.voice
5174
Points
my.voice 11/29/12 - 02:44 pm
2
1
Yes, Augusta, run this money

Yes, Augusta, run this money off so you can demand the 4 grand "fee" (tax). Typical Augusta crapola.

Augusta - The port authority with no port.

Riverman1
93737
Points
Riverman1 11/29/12 - 02:52 pm
3
0
Entityville Horrors

LL said, "The new Marriott parking deck is up and running I've walked through there a couple of times and there are cars parking on levels 1 and 2. There is an employee of some entity working in the collection booth.

I haven't heard of the official grand opening of the TEE Center yet, but there are employees of some entity working there keeping the floors swept and the handrails polished. Some entity is paying the light bills."

Entityville Horrors.

didyaronamus
16
Points
didyaronamus 11/29/12 - 04:59 pm
3
1
Downtown Small Biz Owner

As a downtown small business owner I can tell you personally that the City of Augusta has a life span of 10 years no more. Then we will be a real ghost town.

single parent
395
Points
single parent 11/29/12 - 08:16 pm
0
0
I understand

@ countyman I understand those numbers ( numbers are a crock of hamster poo, physical evidence floats my boat ) but at the same time it is indeed business as usual in "AUGUSTA" PERIOD! I am going to say this and read it well: I said I have been here since 1976 as my father (which was one of those officials and quit because of what I am saying now)retired here and in those early days when things were being discussed I was a budding musician which practiced in a basement of a said official and still friends with some of those afor mentioned musicians and planners that "WILL NOT" ever even attempt to return here (I guarantee you there is a stern reason why).With that being said per interest we are getting screwed either way you look at it. The masters is one time a year and it does not provide what it is said to provide for 'OUR" city. If it did then why the discussion? Special interest is a Mutha my friend!
If it was not for that item of interest we would not be having this discussion hands down,including the original topic, the Nationals. I am trying my best to sugar coat this without being ignorant about it.
As far as the doing there thing in the other areas: Washington Rd is nothing more than a path to get to those other places and what is actually on Washington Rd besides The Nationals? Vacant until spring? At one end projects, at the other, vacant hotels until the masters. N Augusta any time of the day parking lots full; Columbia county any time of day parking lots full;Aiken is not even that big and there shops and parking lots full all day. It is what it is my friend
I am not even going to get started on Cherry Tree being vacated. Where do you think those folks are going to go? Yeah, exactly next door to me. So it was never thought of the down fall of that particular item or was not cared about. With that being said I am so tired of hearing excuses ( when I call 821-1080) on why nothing can be done about this or that concerning low income tenants having no remorse or restraint. Yes I said it! I am indeed a well educated minority gentleman and BS is BS no matter what the smell. It is easy to try and jusify but the fact of the matter is "OUR" city is not getting its just rewards for the occupants it has in and around it!
PS No hubs( electronic equipment, tires, clothing, ect) of order( $12.95 shipping for a part to come from Atlanta,really) here, WHY? We are in the middle of two Nuclear facilities and that is never ever discussed. What I am trying to say is "NOBODY"wants to do business with us! I wonder why that is? I will tell you, Nobody wants to play with the stinky kid!

cm51
145
Points
cm51 11/29/12 - 10:21 pm
4
0
a scene from "cut your nose off to spite your face"

sports venue: "hey we have made more net profit in augusta this year"
commissioners: "hey, did you hear that ? we HAVE to do something !"
sports venue: "we are really glad we chose augusta as a sports market"
commissioners: "something is wrong here, where's OUR cut?"
sports venue: "we get to give more to local charities this year"
commissioners: "we're giving the sports people too good of a deal"
sports venue: "we should start planning for next year, this is great!"
commissioners: "we need another FEE or SURCHARGE"
sports venue: "let's not consider anywhere but augusta"
commissioners: "we need to jack this thing up to a few thousand"
sports venue: yes, we like augusta, and also help the local charities"
commissioners: "hey sports venue, we just discovered more costs"
sports venue: "what costs? what do you mean?"
commissioners: we are going to need a few thousand more next year"
sports venue: "we don't agree, this is not as WE had agreed upon"
commissioners: "well, it's OUR river, and OUR riverfront"
sports venue: "pardon us, we need to plan for next year's event"
commissioners: "you WILL pay!"
sports venue: "anybody have suggestions for a NEW city?"
commissioners: "we will NOT budge on OUR position"
sports venue: "it's been nice RACE FANS, but GOODBYE !"

This is just a scenario, but could very well play out..............

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