Legislative delegation plans to discuss Augusta Coliseum board Friday

ATLANTA — The Augusta legislative delegation is slated to meet Friday to consider the Augusta Coliseum Authority's board structure, funding and appointments to the board.

The agenda sent to local lawmakers by delegation chairman Rep. Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta, also includes discussion of a pay raise for Marshall Steve Smith and Augusta Commissioner Jerry Brigham's request to change the method of electing the city's mayor pro tem.

Rep. Wayne Howard, D-Augusta, drafted a bill to alter the Coliseum Authority's board structure by halving the delegation's number of appointees to two. The other 10 board members would each be appointed by a member of the Augusta Commission, with terms ending when the commissioner leaves office.

The delegation remains divided on the board structure. Some members want a smaller board and all the appointments from the commission, some are willing to compromise on fewer delegation appointments, and a few members want no changes so the management company has a chance to improve the operations of the James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium.

Meanwhile, the authority is asking the delegation to pass legislation that would guarantee its current funding from the city's hotel-motel tax and beer tax so the Commission cannot redirect those funds to the proposed Reynolds Street trade, exhibit and event facility. Agreement on that issue also seems unlikely.

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