No to 'Son of CADI'

New tax would be a disincentive to downtown progress

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Officials are proposing a special law enforcement tax district to fight crime downtown.

But the numbers simply don’t justify it.

Despite a high-profile and egregious beating of a couple on downtown’s Riverwalk May 3, the area is not home to disproportionate numbers of crime.

Indeed, a May analysis by The Chronicle shows that area night spots that are hot spots for crime are spread throughout the county. Some of the biggest draws for crime reports are in south Augusta.

According to the May news article:

“During the past five years, sheriff’s deputies were summoned to 27 downtown clubs 227 times, but officers responded to 312 other incidents – including three homicides – at 26 clubs in south Augusta.”

Only one downtown club, the Soul Bar, with 23 criminal reports over five years, was even in the top 10.

In a more recent analysis, The Chronicle learned the downtown district ranks 15th in the county for person-on-person crime.

Yet, the city wants downtown property owners to voluntarily pony up over $354,000 to hire more deputies just for downtown.

And the thing is, you know they wouldn’t be just for downtown; they’d certainly respond to other areas of the city if needed.

And while being asked to tax themselves another $354,000, we’d ask downtown property owners to consider the law of unintended consequences: You’re being asked to put an additional tax on downtown at a time when the city center desperately needs to grow and to entice more businesses and residents there. How can additional fees help that effort?

In actuality, it’s the opposite of what’s needed even to fight crime: What would make the riverfront safer, in truth, is more people. More people living, working, shopping, eating, strolling there. There is safety in numbers. Making it more expensive to do all that would create a new disincentive to luring them there.

The proposed taxing district is being called a “Continuously Patrolled District.” It might as well be called the “Continuously Taxed District.” The district would follow quickly on the heels of – and in the exact footprints of – the happily defunct Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative. That taxing district, which likewise zinged property owners for hundreds of thousands in extra taxes, under-performed and was mercifully allowed to expire this year.

It’s doubtful property owners are going to get very excited about “Son of CADI.”

“It seems like it’s CADI all over again,” downtown property owner Robin Schweitzer told The Chronicle’s Susan McCord.

We would argue that even if the numbers of downtown crimes were disproportionate, which they’re not, it’s wrong to tax one area of the county for extra police protection. If we want to go down that road, should we enact special law enforcement taxes on other areas of town?

What about other government services? Should certain users of other government services be taxed more?

Let’s not open that can of worms. Law enforcement is a countywide obligation. Our taxes should reflect that.

Comments (14) Add comment
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palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/06/13 - 06:16 am
6
0
The ACES editorials make so
Unpublished

The ACES editorials make so much more sense on local political and governmental issues than when they go to the national level.

avidreader
3069
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avidreader 08/06/13 - 08:00 am
5
0
to Palmetto

Well said! I agree. If I were a CBD property owner, I would be furious with this proposal.

Gary Ross
3346
Points
Gary Ross 08/06/13 - 08:18 am
6
1
This sounds remarkably similar

to what the mafia does. $354,000 from property owners to keep their properties safer? There's a name for that. It's called extortion, and there are laws against it.

Bulldog
1319
Points
Bulldog 08/06/13 - 08:47 am
4
2
Have to agree

The county commission has got to come to grips with the fact that THEY are going to have to CUT nonessential services and FUND the RCSD in a much bigger way. We are extremely lucky to have a very professionally led department, but until they are more adequately funded they cannot turn the county around. Crime and the perception of crime has and continues to drive the middle class taxpayer out of Richmond County. We all have a stake in this fight. Less "fluff" and more money to fighting criminals!

rmwhitley
5532
Points
rmwhitley 08/06/13 - 09:26 am
0
0
This is
Unpublished

just another democratic plan for redistribution of wealth. Tax, tax, tax because of an out of control segment of the democratic party, gangs.

Riverman1
81323
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Riverman1 08/06/13 - 09:53 am
3
1
Oh, I don't know. At the

Oh, I don't know. At the least the Marriott and the Port Royal condos should fund security for the Riverwalk.

dichotomy
31657
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dichotomy 08/06/13 - 10:12 am
4
1
"Should certain users of

"Should certain users of other government services be taxed more?"

What.....is this a trick question? Are you saying that we should ALL be taxed under an EQUALIZED PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM, EQUALIZED FEE SYSTEM for services, and an EQUALIZED PROPERTY VALUATION SYSTEM and RECEIVE THE SAME LEVEL OF SERVICE, like ambulance coverage and response times for instance, for the same level of EQUAL and FAIR TAXES.

I disagree with Son of CADI too.....but as far as I am concerned, it is a side issue when the ENTIRE Augusta/Richmond County system of property taxation, fees for services, and property valuation is discriminatory and illegal.

I don't see the AC writing editorials and crusading about our DUAL STANDARD tax and fee system.....but when it's something that affects their taxes.... boy, the bit dog hollers.

jimmymac
35776
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jimmymac 08/06/13 - 12:03 pm
5
0
TAX
Unpublished

Businesses in the CBD are already paying taxes for police protection. Why on earth should they have to fork over more money to keep their businesses from dying due to crime in the CBD? Stop using the police resources to have traffic sweeps and put them on patrol downtown. They seem to be more interested in traffic control than dealing with the more dangerous criminal elements in the CSRA.

countyman
19517
Points
countyman 08/06/13 - 01:59 pm
1
7
Census

According to the 2012 census estimate middle class taxpayers are moving into the county, and not out..

Little Lamb
44835
Points
Little Lamb 08/06/13 - 03:45 pm
2
2
Upper Income?

Are the upper income taxpayers moving out, countyman?

GnipGnop
11745
Points
GnipGnop 08/06/13 - 03:53 pm
4
1
According to the census

very few people are moving into ARC and Cloumbia County and Aiken both have higher income earners and less poverty...that's straight from the census....

countyman
19517
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countyman 08/06/13 - 05:24 pm
1
5
Little Lamb... They obviously

Little Lamb... They obviously aren't moving if Cabela's, Whole Foods, upscale moving theater, etc is opening in Richmond COunty.

The 2012 estimate showed Richmond and Aiken gained around the same number of people. The majority of suburbs have less poverty compared to the main county..

CobaltGeorge
153183
Points
CobaltGeorge 08/06/13 - 07:18 pm
1
0
Ok,

Being old like me, I'm behind on all the new technology.

What is a "moving theater"?

Gage Creed
16442
Points
Gage Creed 08/06/13 - 08:14 pm
4
1
"The majority of suburbs have

"The majority of suburbs have less poverty compared to the main county.." So why would anyone want to move into the main county?

nocnoc
40308
Points
nocnoc 08/06/13 - 08:49 pm
4
0
I wasn't gone to comment but

How is RCSO planning to purchase expensive Tech Gear like mobile license plate scanners, plus funding the interface support costs to make it work, when the RCSO needs a special tax just do mandated typical police work?

countyman
19517
Points
countyman 08/06/13 - 09:07 pm
1
2
Some of the surrounding

Some of the surrounding counties in the metro, and CSRA have a higher poverty rate. The poverty rate of Aiken County will eventually be higher too.

Why would anyone not want to live in areas were the demographics can support a upscale movie theater?

oldredneckman96
5032
Points
oldredneckman96 08/06/13 - 09:53 pm
2
0
Criminals
Unpublished

The city, county and state police in our area do a good job of arresting the criminals, where we have a problem is keeping them in jail. Often more time is spent finding, arresting and judging these bumbs than they spend in jail. And do not yell about the cost to keep criminals in jail, make them earn their keep with hard labor, I have to, why not them? Hold the judges accountable for the crimes commited by criminals they let go on short sentences.

Gage Creed
16442
Points
Gage Creed 08/07/13 - 08:16 pm
1
1
Why would anyone want to live

Why would anyone want to live in an area where 6 people are shot in one night? Or where a couple sitting on a park bench are brutally beaten with a baseball bat? Spin those demographics...

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