Mall is removed from sales tax project list

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Augusta's working list of upcoming special-purpose sales tax projects is down from $185.3 million to $183.3 million, and it no longer includes $8 million to redevelop Regency Mall.

On Wednesday, City Administrator Fred Russell revealed his adjusted list during a meeting with Hephzibah and Blythe city officials.

Asked about the mall allocation, Mr. Russell said he wouldn't comment on it until the commission's sales-tax workshop at 3 p.m. today.

The city used a $75,000 federal grant to hire F.A. Johnson Consulting Group to devise a mixed-use, mixed-income plan for the Regency site.

Early project lists had $8 million for the "Regency Mall/Rocky Creek Initiative," but the mall's New York-based owners say they want $50 million for it.

The new list has $4.5 million for Hephzibah and Blythe, but Hephzibah is asking for $6.2 million and Blythe is asking for $1.3 million.

Hephzibah City Commission Chairman Robert Buchwitz said his city needs $5 million to upgrade its sewer system, which has fallen out of Environmental Protection Division compliance because of copper discharges.

Mr. Russell said he'll weigh their requests and present his recommendation to commissioners today.

The project list likely will be tweaked further before commissioners approve a final list.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (34) Add comment
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patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 02/05/09 - 06:40 am
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Please use a different

Please use a different picture of Fred Russell. Every time this one is posted, people get angry.

JustSayin
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JustSayin 02/05/09 - 07:12 am
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If the mall owner thinks the

If the mall owner thinks the fair market value is $50 million, I hope the city is using that figure for the tax basis on that property.

ColCo
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ColCo 02/05/09 - 07:31 am
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Inspect Regency Mall. It

Inspect Regency Mall. It would be interesting to see exactly what kind of shape the structure is in, condemnation might be in order.

booger
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booger 02/05/09 - 07:51 am
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They also need to remove the

They also need to remove the gym at Paine College. No way that this will pass.

No_Longer_Amazed
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No_Longer_Amazed 02/05/09 - 07:52 am
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If I remember correctly,

If I remember correctly, Hephzibah and Blythe voted against becoming part of Augusta-Richmond County. Why do they now expect Augusta-Richmond County to give them money?

pointstoponder
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pointstoponder 02/05/09 - 07:55 am
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Because their citizens pay

Because their citizens pay sales tax as well?

My_2nd
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My_2nd 02/05/09 - 07:56 am
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$8 million for the regency

$8 million for the regency mall? how long was that included in the budget? and where has that money went all these years?

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 02/05/09 - 08:19 am
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[filtered word]? Paine College has

[filtered word]? Paine College has nothing to do with this article.

spdermn78
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spdermn78 02/05/09 - 08:20 am
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I agree patriciathomas... He

I agree patriciathomas... He looks like STEPHEN KING... Freaky!!!

sprintman
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sprintman 02/05/09 - 08:58 am
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Maybe he's saying Paine

Maybe he's saying Paine college needs a bigger gym I guess. I would be all for giving some tax money. To ASU so they can get a football stadium. Them having a D-1 football team would help out Augusta tremendously.

sprintman
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sprintman 02/05/09 - 08:58 am
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Maybe he's saying Paine

Maybe he's saying Paine college needs a bigger gym I guess. I would be all for giving some tax money. To ASU so they can get a football stadium. Them having a D-1 football team would help out Augusta tremendously.

DuhJudge
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DuhJudge 02/05/09 - 08:59 am
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Help the economy and kill the

Help the economy and kill the sales tax.....period. If you give them the money they will spend that and ask for more. It really does not help with property tax relief because it creates projects that require property taxes to maintain them. People, you better stop letting them take your money. The only ones that want these taxes are either employees or vendors. Either leave the sales tax for infrastructure projects or end it. You simply can not grow government when the private sector is going through the toughest time since the 1930s.

Mongol
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Mongol 02/05/09 - 09:28 am
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The problem with regency is

The problem with regency is the surronding neighborhood. Five miles north south east and west of the mall needs to be bull dozed.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/05/09 - 10:13 am
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Actually, Spiderman, he looks

Actually, Spiderman, he looks like Alfred E. Newman. And "What, me worry?" fits Fred Russell's administrative style perfectly. He takes no responsibility for anything that goes on under his areas of control.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/05/09 - 10:14 am
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Thank the Lord that the

Thank the Lord that the Regency Mall boondoggle takeover is off the table for a while.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/05/09 - 10:15 am
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And Patricia, I hope the

And Patricia, I hope the Chronicle continues to run that picture, because we need to remain angry at the corruption and wastefulness in city government, much of it at the feet of Fred (What, me worry?) Russell.

quickfeet
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quickfeet 02/05/09 - 10:54 am
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down from $185.3 million to

down from $185.3 million to $183.3 million.. how do they get 8 million out of that...

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 02/05/09 - 10:55 am
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Did you all miss this part,

Did you all miss this part, "The city used a $75,000 federal grant to hire F.A. Johnson Consulting Group to devise a mixed-use, mixed-income plan for the Regency site." [filtered word]!?!?!?!? Since when do we spend public funds to help an INDIVIDUAL private land owner plan the use for their private property? [filtered word]? More studies that will NEVER BE USED!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!! I hate this. waste waste waste! Yet they always have to cut the arts huh? Add this to the other stack of wasted dollars.

Signal Always
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Signal Always 02/05/09 - 11:05 am
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Pointstoponder, I pay taxes

Pointstoponder, I pay taxes when I go through SC, doesn't mean I get any benefits from SC. If they bail out their citizens, or give them a stimulus check, do I get one? No. I agree with No Longer Amazed. Blythe and Hephzibah should be on their on. As for Regency, here's a group they need to contact: http://www.dem-tech.com/

No_Longer_Amazed
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No_Longer_Amazed 02/05/09 - 11:09 am
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pointstoponder: Yes, their

pointstoponder: Yes, their citizens pay sales tax as well, but is it to Augusta-Richmond County. Coulmbia County, North Augusta, etc. residents pay sales tax in Augusta-Richmond County, so are they entitled to a share?

No_Longer_Amazed
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No_Longer_Amazed 02/05/09 - 11:12 am
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Signal Always: I guess we

Signal Always: I guess we think alike. I was typing while you were posting!

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/05/09 - 11:30 am
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Absolutely right, Brad. The

Absolutely right, Brad. The city is picking winners and losers among private developers and other real estate owners. The city spends taxpayer money for studies to benefit the "connected" landowners and developers to the detriment of property owners in general. The government does not need to pay for development studies. That's for landowners and developers to do.

pointstoponder
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pointstoponder 02/05/09 - 12:08 pm
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No Longer and Signal,

No Longer and Signal, Hepzibah and Blythe are part of Richmond County. They pay sales tax and property tax here just like you do.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/05/09 - 12:10 pm
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It should be easier for

It should be easier for Hephzibah wastewater personnel and police to canvas businesses in Hephzibah and find out who is flushing copper compounds into the sewer. That would be WAY cheaper than building a plant to treat copper.

BakersfieldCityLimits
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BakersfieldCityLimits 02/05/09 - 02:06 pm
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Little Lamb, while the

Little Lamb, while the police are going door to door testing water for copper, who do you think will be stopping Mr. KwXXXXXous from stealing copper?

mable8
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mable8 02/05/09 - 02:21 pm
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In the first place, Regency

In the first place, Regency Mall isn't worth $50m and appers to be in need of a huge renovation to make it usable again. In the second place, we have heard several different plans to use this albatross--but nothing ever happened. The cost to renovate was way too high. So, what's the plan this time? Also, if the budget was $185.3m how do they figure that it has been reduced only $2m after excluding the $8m for Regency Mall? Did they mean the budget is now reducted to $177.3m?

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 02/05/09 - 03:10 pm
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his smile is one of the cat

his smile is one of the cat that just swallowed another canary, and the canary is the poor homeowners who will have to absorb another "haircut" this year so the 10 knuckleheads on the 8th floor can waste it on countless more "studies"...well everyone who voted to keep them in office here it comes.....same goes for the inept morons on the school board

sprintman
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sprintman 02/05/09 - 04:29 pm
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Jisomjr you sure do talk

Jisomjr you sure do talk alot. But I haven't seen you run for the commission, the school board or the mayor. So all you are is talk a bunch of hot air. Posting on Augusta chronicle is not going to change anything.

griesella
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griesella 02/05/09 - 04:34 pm
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I have yet to understand why

I have yet to understand why time and money is being wasted over property that doesn't belong to the city-county. Enough of hearing about Regency Mall. It's a dump. Let the New Yorkers have it.

sprintman
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sprintman 02/05/09 - 04:49 pm
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Griesella just because its a

Griesella just because its a dump now doesn't mean it has to stay that way. There are plenty of places in america that were dumps that are very nice and lovely now. I think it should be turned into a technical college. Or a football stadium for Augusta state university. Or into a school like Davidson and AR Johnson.

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