Originally created 02/12/99

Canal Authority pushes expansion legislation



Current members of the Augusta Canal Authority would continue to serve for one to three years to ensure a smooth transition as the governing body expands from five to 10 members, according to legislation proposed Thursday.

The five-member authority agreed to ask Richmond County's legislative delegation to double the authority's size to conform to postconsolidation city commission districts.

The Canal Authority was established a decade ago by Georgia's Legislature, but its members were appointed by the city council of Augusta, which was abolished after consolidation with Richmond County. Although consolidation was completed in 1996, the authority has not been changed to reflect the new city government, and all five members' terms have long since expired.

The resolution adopted by the authority asks the Legislature to amend the state law creating the authority to conform to the current city commission, which has 10 districts.

The Canal Authority's proposed amendment, which will be forwarded to city officials for review and then to the Richmond County Legislative Delegation to take to the General Assembly, has several primary stipulations:

-- Three current members -- Bob Woodhurst, Jeanie Allen and Hugh Connolly -- would remain on the authority until March 31, 2000, and will then be eligible for reappointment, subject to considerations of city commissioners.

-- Two current members -- Dick Fox and Tom Robertson -- would remain on the authority until March 31, 2002, and would then be eligible for reappointment, or could be replaced by other appointees.

-- Five new members would be appointed by city commissioners, who eventually would appoint members to represent all 10 current commission districts.