Augusta commissioners agreed to pay for the Downtown Develop-ment Authority's $52,500 parking study for the city's central business district Tuesday with Phase 4 sales tax money.
City Attorney Stephen Shepard advised commissioners that sales-tax money legally could be used to pay for the study if it is a necessary part of a specific capital improvement program.
"It is incumbent on the DDA to identify a capital project," Mr. Shepard said.
The comprehensive study by Carl Walker Inc. of Atlanta, covering the 100-block area bounded by the river, Fifth Street, Walton Way and 15th Street, is underway and should be complete by April.
The authority had asked that the study be paid for from the urban services district fund because of advice from the previous city attorney that sales-tax money could not be used for a parking study, said Sanford Loyd, the chairman of the development authority's restructuring committee.
A discussion of the urban services district fund sparked a debate over why, almost 10 years after consolidation, the city still has separate urban and suburban tax funds and a need to consolidate them.
Commissioner Tommy Boyles said he seemed to recall that a proposed $20-million Streetscape plan for downtown Augusta last year had included a parking study.
Public Works Director Teresa Smith said the Streetscape work included a general conceptual plan that included some ideas about the Broad Street parking bays but did not include a parking study.
Commissioners on Tuesday also voted unanimously to demolish seven dilapidated structures in the drug-infested Lyman, Dover and Miles streets area off U.S. Highway 1 in south Augusta. The city plans to condemn all the property in that area and develop it into a model neighborhood of single-family homeowners.
Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or email@example.com.