As I see it, the pending Phase V SPLOST public referendum is, in actuality, a vote of public confidence to determine if we are willing to invest in Augusta's future.
At the moment, however, the issue is dead in the water. That does not bode well for Augusta.
The city attorney has rendered a legal opinion that there can only be one question on the ballot. In essence, we get to vote "yes" or "no" to the entire list of projects.
If that's the case, and the extremely controversial sports arena project is included in the list, the issue will not pass.
With all the pressing infrastructure, public facility, recreational and cultural needs in our community, the inclusion of the sports arena project should not be allowed to cause the entire Phase V SPLOST issue to fail.
It's time for the Augusta Commission to make a very difficult, but necessary, decision to remove the proposed sports arena from the list of Phase V SPLOST projects.
There is simply no other alternative, save that of the project's backers withdrawing it from consideration. Given that the principals involved are some of our city's most respected and valued citizens, I hope they will see the wisdom in doing so.
If it's going to come down to an all-or-nothing vote, let's attempt to move in the right direction and take this important project back up at a future date.
(Editor's note: The writer served as a District 7 representative to the Citizens Phase V SPLOST Committee.)