1-cent sales tax is pushed

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Augusta Commissioner Don Grantham asked a commission committee Wednesday to approve a resolution requesting that area lawmakers call a referendum on a new 1-cent sales tax for public safety and transportation.

Mr. Grantham said the proposed special local option sales tax increase would allow the sheriff's office to retain and add deputies and support the fire and marshal's departments.

It would also allow the city to provide free bus service to residents, he said.

"Everyone is participating in the sales tax program," Mr. Grantham said. "This is not just something that's put on the burden of property owners. This is spread across everyone."

Augusta's penny sales tax is as low as that of any county in the state, he said.

The tax would raise about $32 million a year, which would go directly to public safety, transit and the emergency 911 center.

Commissioner Joe Bowles asked whether a property-tax rebate for the amount of penny tax collected could be considered, but Mr. Grantham said he did not want the resolution to become too convoluted.

Mr. Grantham said he wanted the administrative services committee to approve the resolution so it could be given to the area legislative delegation in Atlanta as soon as possible.

Mayor Pro Tem Betty Beard, a member of the committee, said she could not vote for the resolution because she didn't know enough about it. She said she doesn't favor any more tax increases because of concerns about the current state of the economy, but would have an open mind when it is discussed at the next committee meeting.

The committee received the proposal as information.

Also on Wednesday, the public services committee voted to reinstate an additional Augusta Public Transit route to Augusta Mall. A 90-day study will determine the need for the peak-hours route, Administrator Fred Russell said.

Last year, the commission voted to cut an Augusta Mall route during the peak hours from 6 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. The route would alleviate overcrowding on the current Augusta Mall route, APT director Heyward Johnson said.

Augusta Mall route 12 was overcrowded 114 days during the period between February 2007 and January of this year, according to statistics gathered during that time, Mr. Johnson said. Mall walkers and many riders who work along Wrightsboro Road would benefit from the peak-hours route, Mr. Johnson said.

Reinstating the route would cost the city $45,000, Mr. Russell said. The route would begin immediately upon approval by the full commission.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215.

WHAT'S NEXT?

The administrative services committee would have to approve the resolution before it can be given to the area legislative delegation in Atlanta.

Comments (11) Add comment
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Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 02/14/08 - 05:54 am
0
0
I guess SPLOST V won't have

I guess SPLOST V won't have anything fun in it. We still need to come up with the other half for the Judicial Center.

DeborahElliott2
4
Points
DeborahElliott2 02/14/08 - 07:31 am
0
0
Why don't you just come out

Why don't you just come out and say a 5 cent sales tax and then remove the property taxes all together???

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 02/14/08 - 10:04 am
0
0
is there not a tax they dont

is there not a tax they dont like? at what percent of my money will they consider me a slave? at what point am i afforded protection by the 13th amenndment? taxes on my house have gone up 300% since 2001. take the penny away from marta.
cut out all of the b s departments and studies. i vote no don.

read this
1
Points
read this 02/14/08 - 10:27 am
0
0
Well, he did what he said he

Well, he did what he said he would do. Propose to raise your taxes. Out of $120 million per year, you would think they could find something they could do without. Civic center loses $190K per month...judicial center will cost three times the original allocation...new baseball park $25 million.....just keep voting for the same spendthrifts, what are you going to do with it???...eat?

jack
11
Points
jack 02/14/08 - 11:39 am
0
0
On;y fools would support

On;y fools would support another 1 cent sasles tax after all the waste and fraud that have been uncovered in such places as the Procurement Department, boon doggles at tax payer expense of various commissioners, etc.. Sams has blown enough to pay the salary increases for the Sheriff's Dept and the commission continues to allow her to keep her job and waste your money on legal fees vice firing the culprits.

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 02/14/08 - 11:46 am
0
0
Parasites on the prowl!!

Parasites on the prowl!!

FedupwithAUG
0
Points
FedupwithAUG 02/14/08 - 01:49 pm
0
0
Soon we will need a penny tax

Soon we will need a penny tax to cover legal fees, gas and phone bills for the commission.

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 02/14/08 - 08:37 pm
0
0
120 mil aint

120 mil aint spit..........here is the total number:907,857,004.00
that beez millions 907 million total combines budget. gee do u think there might be 32 mil in b s floating around in that?

read this
1
Points
read this 02/14/08 - 11:19 pm
0
0
What is $907 million?

What is $907 million?

gijoe7898
0
Points
gijoe7898 02/15/08 - 01:02 pm
0
0
Keep eating away slowly. Add

Keep eating away slowly. Add a penny here, a penny there and hope residents will forget about it. State that it is temporary but later come up with a reason to extend it. After all, what's another penny here and there? Free bus rides? Not even charging .50 cents? I've spent time in Central America where bus transportation is the only way most people get to work and the avg wage is $1 an hour. They manage to pay.

Little Lamb
52564
Points
Little Lamb 02/15/08 - 02:48 pm
0
0
A new 1-cent sales tax to put

A new 1-cent sales tax to put more money into the Augusta general fund. They will never stop. Raise property tax assessments one year, raise the millage the next, raise the sales tax the next, then start all over again.

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