News Line for Augusta

Firefighter pay proposal to go before Augusta Commission
A proposal to boost the salaries of Augusta firefighters will go before the full commission next week after the public safety committee voted Monday to pass the item on consent.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission holds off on tax increase
Seven Augusta Commission members nixed a proposed tax increase Monday that would cost a typical homeowner $70 a year, leaving the countywide millage unset with just a few days to meet state deadlines.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission set to approve $9 million tax increase
Augusta Commission members are set to tentatively pass a $9 million property tax increase at a called meeting today.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Fire Department chief submits salary proposal to public safety committee
The Augusta Fire Depart­ment will present a pay raise proposal for firefighters and administrators to the county’s public safety committee Monday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Dee Griffin hired as Augusta Fire Department's public information officer
An Augusta native with a background in TV news is becoming the new voice of Augusta Fire Department.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Adoption coordinator could be hired at Augusta Animal Services as rescues begin removing animals
Animal Services Director Sharon Broady is proposing the city hire a full-time animal adoption coordinator who would work to place dogs and cats in homes to drive down the shelter’s 70 percent kill rate.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission calls off search for administrator after failure to reach consensus on finalists
Augusta government remains under the direction of two interim city administrators after commission members failed to agree to support either of two finalists for the job named by Mayor Deke Copenhaver.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta might be close to naming city administrator
Augusta could be closer to having a permanent head of city government, with Mayor Deke Copenhaver calling a meeting Wednesday to “discuss and approve” his recommendation for the top post.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Hasan tops Finnegan in District 6 commission race
In a heated runoff to represent District 6 on the Augusta Commission, newspaper publisher Ben Hasan was victorious Tuesday, pulling in 1,243 votes, or 52.43 percent, to Fort Gordon retiree Bob Finnegan’s 1,128 votes, or 47.57 percent.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta firefighters battle through summer heat
Sgt. David Williams speaks for many of the firefighters at Augusta Station No. 8 when he says summer is the hardest time of year.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission searches for consensus on candidates for city administrator
Wednesday will mark two weeks since Mayor Deke Co­pen­haver revealed the names of three finalists for city administrator, but it remains to be seen how soon Augusta will hire a permanent head of the government.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Washington Police Department defunded, closed by Council vote
The Washington, Georgia, police department is no more. Washington City Council voted 4-3 to defund the police department at Thursday night’s meeting, with Mayor Ames Barnett breaking the 3-3 council member tie.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Ways to improve Riverwalk Augusta discussed
Different ideas were floated Thursday on how best to enhance Riverwalk Augusta, but the goal remained the same: make the riverfront property once again attractive to visitors.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission votes to resume municipal building construction
After delaying renovations on the eighth and ninth floors at Augusta Municipal Building for six weeks while they considered moving the city law department to the ninth, Augusta Commission members voted Tuesday to resume construction without additional changes.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission approves animal adoption plan
The Augusta Commission on Tuesday approved an arrangement pitched by Animal Services Director Sharon Broady that will facilitate the transfer of adoptable animals to rescue groups and potentially reduce the shelter’s 70 percent kill rate.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Commissioners expect action on reducing Augusta's animal shelter kill rate
Facing public outrage, three Augusta say they hope to see action Tuesday on reducing the city’s animal kill rate and its policy for working with animal rescue groups.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

New Safety Management and Response Team Unit making a presence in downtown Augusta
It’s been a successful first month for a highly visible team of officers in downtown Augusta.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Mayor-elect Hardie Davis raised over $144,000 for campaign
Mayor-elect Hardie Davis nearly tripled the fundraising of his nearest competitor, Augusta Commission member Alvin Mason, in his quest to become mayor, raising $144,760, according to campaign financial reports due last week.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

URA votes to issue bonds for Municipal Building renovation
Augusta’s Urban Redevelopment Agency agreed Thursday to issue nearly $27 million in revenue bonds to raise up to $28.5 million in cash for ongoing renovations and a new information technology center at the Augusta Municipal Building complex downtown.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

3 top picks to replace City Administrator Fred Russell named
Landing a job as city administrator would be “the crowning touch of my career, to manage in my hometown,” for Augusta native Janice Allen Jackson.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

City finances get clean bill of health after 'big' audit
Augusta city finances got a clean bill of health in results of an external audit presented Monday that included a handful of “communications” about problem items, most of them with grant funds overseen by Augusta Housing and Community Development.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

District 6 outcome could change face of Augusta Commission
In a closely-watched race likely decided by a handful of votes, local activist Ben Hasan faces former county Republican chairman Bob Finnegan in the July 22 runoff to represent District 6 on the Augusta Commission.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Commission authorizes $565,000 construction change at municipal building
At a tense called meeting Tuesday, the Augusta Commission authorized $565,000 in change orders to ongoing renovations at the Municipal Building and restarted construction on the building’s eighth and ninth floors.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

ARC seeking tenants for former chamber building
Renovations are nearly complete and Mayor Deke Co­penhaver’s Augusta Re­gional Collaboration Corp. is looking for individuals, nonprofits, businesses and other groups to inhabit the former Chamber of Commerce Buil­ding in Broad Street’s 600 block median, with a move-in date in August or Sep­tem­ber.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Georgia House Bill 60 doesn't stop gun prohibition at Augusta Municipal Building
Despite the passage and implementation today of Georgia House Bill 60, ordinary armed Augustans still can’t carry their weapons, concealed or otherwise, into the city’s municipal building, courthouse or sheriff’s office.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission discusses tax increase
A 2-mill property tax increase for government operations and a new tax on manufacturers to fund law enforcement, transit and reduce blight might be on the horizon after Augusta Commission members approved the two “action items” at the end of a daylong Friday retreat.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Animal Services leaves out key proposal during Commission presentation of ways to lower shelter kill rates
Augusta Animal Services presented the Augusta Commission with an array of changes to the county’s animal ordinances Thursday, but omitted a key proposal being pushed by some of the shelter’s advisory board members.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Mayor-elect Davis shares plans for Augusta
Voted “most dependable” in his class at nearby Hephzibah High School, mayor-elect Hardie Davis on Tuesday gave south Augusta residents a taste of his mayoral term that begins in January.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Recycling Perks VP says Augusta needs more bins
Augusta doesn't need to force residents to include recyclables with their household garbage in order to improve its 4 percent recycling rate.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission to talk budget, personnel at retreat
Augusta Commission members hope to put aside petty squabbling and get down to the meat of local government at a retreat Friday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Laney-Walker/Bethlehem redevelopment project gets 'bridge' loan from URA
Augusta’s Urban Redevelop­ment Agency on Thursday authorized a $2.5 million loan for the continuation of redevelopment efforts in the city’s Laney-Walker and Bethlehem districts, but members of the panel continue to question the project’s bookkeeping and reliance on outside consultants.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Commission moves to rectify garbage pickup inequities
Augusta Commission members took steps to level a longstanding inequity in the price of garbage pickup Tuesday, although the change will affect lower-income urban homeowners more than others.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Transportation tax discretionary funds help maintain Augusta roadsides
More than a half-million dollars collected from the penny sales tax for transportation projects has been spent to cut grass and overgrown weeds alongside Augusta roads.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta mayor advises businesses on leverage, branding
Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver urged listeners Wednesday to use major events to leverage the local economy.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Laney-Walker, Bethlehem Heritage Trail plans considered
Along with the typical activities of peering down Magnolia Lane or visiting downtown’s James Brown statue, city leaders are hoping to add one more hotspot to the schedules of tourists visiting Augusta: The Laney-Walker and Bethlehem neighborhoods.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Clerk to move to law department space
Augusta’s clerk of commission will relocate to offices custom designed for the city law department, in a move approved by commissioners at a called Monday meeting.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Hundreds of abandoned properties await demolition funding
The May 20 defeat of Au­gusta’s latest sales tax referendum had a hidden downside: cutting proposed funding for one of the city’s most pervasive problems.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Garbage fees increased in pre-consolidation city limits
Included on estimated annual tax bills mailed to Augusta property owners May 9 was another surprise affecting at least 13,000 households inside the pre-consolidation city limits.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission halts municipal building construction until space issues resolved
Augusta Commission members blasted the architect and, to a lesser extent, the project manager, in voting Tuesday to suspend construction on two floors at Augusta Municipal Building until space issues are resolved, but vowed not to spend more money on the $40 million renovation project.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Changes to Augusta 911 dispatch protocol could speed response times
Changes at the Augusta 911 Cen­ter on May 27 could lead to shortened response times, officials said.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Planning commission puts off vote on cell tower rules
Changes to Augusta’s wireless tower ordinance remain up in the air. Augusta planning commissioners on Monday postponed voting on a comprehensive zoning ordinance revision that, if approved, would require new cell phone towers in residential or professional zones be concealed, or “stealth.”
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Mayor to review administrator finalists Friday
Mayor Deke Copenhaver will take an active role in selecting Augusta’s new administrator, with input from mayor-elect Hardie Davis in a process nearing its end, the mayor confirmed Wednesday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Clerk: New space inadequate for commission business
A significant oversight might add to the cost of Augusta’s $40 million renovation of the Municipal Building.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Garbage service billing proposal explained to commissioners
Augusta’s Environmental Ser­vices chief is proposing a change in billing for garbage service to make it uniform throughout Augusta-Richmond County.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Mayor-elect Hardie Davis prepared to wait his turn
While he has seven months until taking office, Augusta mayor-elect Hardie Davis isn’t sitting still until Jan­uary.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta goat pilot project moves forward
A small herd of goats will help keep vegetation under control at two or three fenced detention ponds under a pilot project approved by Augusta Commission on Thursday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

New firefighters receive badges, prepare for service
Throughout eight years spent working at a gas station, Linda Warrick knew she wanted to impact lives in ways she couldn’t standing behind a register.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Simon returns with competing proposal for "The Patch"
An Augusta commission committee may have overlooked some details when members voted 4-0 on May 12 to approve a new contract with Cypress Golf Management, according to Paul Simon, who has a competing proposal to manage Augusta Municipal Golf Course.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta groups vow to carry on without sales tax package
The Imperial Theatre will “go back to the drawing board” and continue to seek funds from individual, corporate and foundation donors in light of Tuesday’s failed vote on the latest special purpose local option sales tax, its executive director said.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Davis wins mayor's race with 75 percent of vote
Augusta’s new mayor in January will be Sen. Hardie Davis.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta voters narrowly reject $194.3 million sales tax package
Augusta voters narrowly rejected a $194.3 million sales tax package, just the second of its kind to fail since the city’s first special purpose local option sales tax in 1988.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Election moves forward without Blocker-Adams
The statewide general primary and nonpartisan election will move forward today without Augusta mayoral candidate Helen Blocker-Adams.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Watchers weigh effect of Helen Blocker-Adams' move
Helen Blocker-Adams’ campaign suspension has thrown a wrench into Tuesday’s election for Augusta mayor, and longtime local political observers are split over whom the move benefits.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Super District 10 race features incumbent versus political newcomer
A popular businessman and an Augusta attorney face off Tuesday in the race to represent Super District 10, which spans Commission Districts 3, 6, 7 and 8.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Blocker-Adams still officially in Augusta mayoral race
Despite announcing Thurs­day that she was suspending her Au­gusta mayoral campaign, Helen Blocker-Adams hasn’t formally withdrawn from the race and remains a viable candidate.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta mayoral candidate Helen Blocker-Adams suspends campaign
Augusta mayoral candidate Helen Blocker-Adams suspended her mayoral campaign Thursday amid reports of debts unpaid for years and other financial difficulties.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

District 6 election features variety of candidates
Long considered a swing district that could shift the balance of power on the Augusta Commission, the District 6 commission race includes a newspaper publisher, a former Republican Party official, a pastor and radio personality, a former city employee and a past commission candidate.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

City wins lawsuit over change in election date for local offices
U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall on Tuesday ruled in favor of the city in a lawsuit filed over the election date for local, nonpartisan races.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Candidates tout investment in Augusta at forum
Augusta’s five candidates for mayor steered for the high road when asked whether past decisions would impact their service to the city at a Tuesday televised forum.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Commission closer to bid award for 'The Patch'
The Augusta Commission’s public services committee voted 4-0 Monday to award a bid to Cypress Golf Management of Orlando, Fla., to turn “The Patch” into a moneymaking operation, which cash flow projections show will happen in late 2016 or early 2017.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

New Broad Street trees replace casualties of February's ice storm
Broad Street tree casualties of February’s ice storm have been replaced by new Chinese elms using special purpose local option sales tax revenue.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Commission closer to bid award for 'The Patch'
Augusta’s troubled public golf course may have a new private manager. The Augusta Commission’s public services committee voted 4-0 Monday to award a bid to Cypress Golf Management of Orlando, Fla., to turn “The Patch” into a moneymaking operation, which cash flow projections show will happen in late 2016 or early 2017.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Final Cherry Tree Crossing residents reflect
Surrounded by the skeleton of a neighborhood that had fallen eerily silent, Betty Crawford marked her last night in Cherry Tree Crossing by playing music and letting memories of the good times roll into the abyss of one of Augusta’s most storied public housing projects.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Value of Copenhaver's support in mayor's race argued
As a thrice-elected, popular mayor, Deke Copenhaver is certain to have potential successors hopeful of hooking onto his coattails.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Activists, newcomers seek District 4 Augusta Commission seat
It’s a crowded, competitive field in the Hephzibah-area District 4 Augusta Commission race between longtime neighborhood activist Sammie Sias, activist pastor Melvin Ivey and two newcomers, Tomasenia Jackson and Gwen Watts.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Candidates want infrastructure, attention for District 2
The Augusta Commission District 2 election pits a longtime local businessman and pastor against a former branch president of the Augusta NAACP.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Plaintiffs in election date lawsuit file response to city of Augusta
The plaintiffs challenging the election date for Augusta’s local offices filed their response Wednesday to the city’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta mayoral candidates hold spirited debate at St. John Towers
Downtown, crime and the May 20 sales tax referendum took center stage at a spirited debate between candidates for Augusta mayor that saw Sen. Hardie Davis and Commissioner Alvin Mason trade repeated jabs over each one’s record.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta will work on new smoking law
The Augusta Commission voted Tuesday to hold a work session on a potentially tougher smoking ordinance, but supporters got good news when one of the commissioners who opposed a previous effort said she would like to “broaden” the current law.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission seeks answers on sales tax package
While the Augusta Commission already approved the sales tax package and bond issue going on the May 20 ballot and 937 voters already have cast advance votes on the measure, commissioners spent much of a Tuesday meeting seeking answers about the hastily assembled package.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Prayer continues at Augusta Commission meetings
The Augusta Commission has opened its semimonthly meetings with a mostly Christian religious invocation for as long as most anyone can remember, although the city adjusted procedures for the mayor’s prayer breakfast after a 2012 legal challenge filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Condos proposed for Masters Tournament visitors denied by planning commission
Condos proposed for Masters Tournament visitors denied by planning commission
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Poll shows Hardie Davis leading Augusta mayor's race
Hardie Davis is the frontrunner in the Augusta mayoral race, according to a poll conducted for The Augusta Chronicle.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

New Augusta-Richmond County sales tax package doesn't have majority support, poll shows
A poll on Augusta’s next sales tax referendum found supporters holding a lead, though lacking a majority and with many voters undecided.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta solid waste supervisor considering mandatory recycling
To improve its “horrible” 4 percent recycling rate, one of Augusta’s solid waste supervisors can see a day when residents are forced to include recyclable items with their household garbage in order to receive curbside trash service.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta files motion to dismiss suit meant to move May 20 elections
Attorneys for Augusta filed a motion Wednesday to dismiss a federal lawsuit seeking to move May 20 mayor and commission elections to a later date.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree announces sales tax support
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree on Tuesday announced his support for the upcoming tax package at a news conference, saying the measure enhances public safety.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Convention Center's numbers better than expected
Augusta Riverfront LLC President Paul Simon brought good news about Augusta Convention Center’s first 10 months, plus a renewed request for a pedestrian bridge to Augusta commissioners at a Monday meeting.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signs golf cart bill in Augusta
Letting local governments in Georgia set the rules for golf cars on city streets might provide an economic boost to those that make them, Georgia’s governor said Friday while signing the bill.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Q&A with Augusta mayoral candidate Hardie Davis
An engineer, pastor and for seven years a state legislator, Sen. Hardie Davis says he’ll bring legislative experience and the ability to compromise to city government if elected mayor May 20.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta campaigns continue in Sand Hills
Situated midway between Georgia Regents University’s Summerville Campus and Augusta National Golf Club, Sand Hills homeowners had no trouble expressing their chief concern to Augusta mayoral and senate candidates at a Tuesday forum: Dilapidated, abandoned homes, and the problems that frequent them.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta mayoral candidate Lori Myles wants a more 'transparent' government
Lori Myles says she’ll bring the classroom experience she has gained as a longtime – and sometimes controversial – Richmond County educator and much more into the Augusta mayor’s office if elected May 20.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta mayoral candidate Charles Cummings wants to be 'ambassador' for city, improve transit
Retired businessman Charles Cummings is running for Augusta mayor on a three-pronged platform of lowering taxes, improving public transit and helping young people become entrepreneurs.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Lawsuit challenging May 20 election date for Augusta mayor and commission on fast track
A pending lawsuit challenging the election date of Augusta races has been put on the fast track. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall issued an order setting dates for the opposing sides to file briefs.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta announces $1.5 million restoration project on Butt Bridge centennial
Twenty years ago, city residents rallied to “Save Our Butt,” a clever campaign slogan crafted to protect downtown Augusta’s Archibald W. Butt Memorial Bridge from modern road construction.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Legal challenge raised over change in election dates for Augusta local races
A federal lawsuit has been filed against the city of Augusta because of the election date change for local offices.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta mayoral candidate Helen Blocker-Adams says she'll bring different dynamic to office
Helen Blocker-Adams says she’ll bring a different dynamic to the mayor’s office and a new culture to city government.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Olde Town residents show displeasure with latest sales tax package
If a Monday meeting in Olde Town was any gauge, the chances of the latest Special-Purpose Local Option Sales Tax passing May 20 are bleak.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Alvin Mason says experience on Augusta Commission would be asset if elected
Two-term Commissioner Alvin Mason touts his experience on the sometimes-fractured Augusta Commission as an asset, not a liability, that he’ll bring into the mayor’s office if elected May 20.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree announces downtown Augusta policing unit
Business owners are hopeful that a plan unveiled Thursday by Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree will change the perception of a dangerous downtown.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Senate, mayoral candidates tout qualifications in east Augusta
Augusta candidates for mayor and state Senate faced a skeptical crowd at a Thursday forum in east Augusta.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Judge denies request to delay May 20 special purpose local option sales tax referendum
A Superior Court judge denied a request Wednesday from a Richmond County citizen seeking a court order to postpone the May 20 special purpose local option sales tax referendum.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta pensioners eye benefit increase
With an eye on the millions of dollars remaining in the city’s oldest pension funds – its 1945 and 1949 plans – a handful of retired city and county employees are reviving a push to increase their monthly benefits.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Centennial of iconic Archi­bald W. Butt Memorial Bridge cues renovation
Downtown Augusta’s Archi­bald W. Butt Me­morial Bridge is not just another historic landmark.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta mayoral candidates discuss contributions to arts
Supporting Augusta arts programs gave five mayoral candidates different material to talk about at a forum Monday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

First female officer makes waves in Hephzibah
It only took one day for Emerald Hambrick to prove her value to the Hephzibah Police Department.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Sales tax funds fall short for road, drainage work
Fifty-million dollars from the next special purpose local option sales tax won’t go very far toward repairing Augusta’s aging roads and drainage system.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Davis raises most money among mayoral candidates
Sen. Hardie Davis maintains a healthy fundraising lead over Augusta’s other four mayoral candidates in the latest campaign financial reports due with Richmond County Board of Elections.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Committee gives Gold Cross Augusta EMS zone
Gold Cross EMS won an administrative victory over Augusta Fire Department on Thursday when a regional committee voted to give the ambulance company exclusive access to Augusta calls for emergency medical transportation.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Council to revisit November selection of area EMS 'zone provider'
At a called meeting, the zoning committee of the East Central Georgia EMS Council is expected to reconsider the council’s Nov. 15 recommendation by a 10-8 vote to designate the Augusta government as “zone provider” in the EMS zone that spans Augusta-Richmond County.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta contracted storm cleanup cost rises to $16.4 million
The price of contracted cleanup behind Winter Storm Pax crept higher Tues­day, to $16.4 million, while some areas of the city probably won’t be com­pletely free of storm debris before Masters Week.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta mayoral candidates discuss race, taxes and development
Race and money took center stage at a Tuesday forum for the five candidates for Augusta mayor.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Airport continues effort to sever ties with city
The appointed body that governs Augusta Regional Airport is continuing a push to become an airport authority not subject to the Augusta Commission.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Census estimates: Richmond County population shrinking
Census estimates released today show that Richmond County’s population decreased by nearly 670 residents in 2013, again raising suspicion that Augusta’s status as Georgia’s second-largest city could be lost to Columbus by the end of the decade.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta's 5 mayoral candidates participate in forum
In a first public forum together Tuesday, the five can­didates seeking to be Augusta’s next mayor sparred gently over job crea­tion, pushed a transit agenda and touted the skills and experience they’d bring to the mayor’s seat.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

City committee authorizes first phase of $3 million countywide demolition program
Thirty-six homes and other buildings funded for demolition by an Augusta Commission committee are just a start.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Demolition of unsafe properties to go before committee
Fifty-three burned-out, disintegrating and otherwise uninhabitable structures are included in the first step of a new push for demolition going before an Augusta Com­mis­sion committee today for approval.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta rainy-day funds diminish
Augusta’s rainy-day fund made the news again last week as the Augusta Commission reached in for about $900,000 to allow the Richmond County sheriff to avoid a countywide 2.4 percent budget cut.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

City to begin final stage of debris removal
The multimillion-dollar effort to clean up debris from last month’s ice storm is entering its last stage.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta debris removal requires additional $5 million
Citing debris totals that have more than doubled since February’s ice storm, city officials said Tuesday that an additional $5 million is needed for contract crews to complete the monumental cleanup job it began in Augusta three weeks ago.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Commission acknowledges revenue shortfall on renovation project if tax plan fails
Faced with few alternatives, five Augusta Commission members and the mayor waved through their approval of a $28.5 million bond issue to fund ongoing renovations at Augusta Municipal Building, although voters have not yet passed the revenue stream intended to service the bonds.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Urban Redevelopment Agency to meet with commissioners to discuss bond controversy
A bond issue that one commissioner is calling a bad deal returns for a third day of discussion Tuesday, this time with Augusta commissioners present.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Forums planned for five seeking Augusta mayor's post
It’s a short election season, but Augusta voters have several more opportunities to get to know the five candidates seeking the mayor’s seat May 20.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

4 of 5 hopefuls for Augusta mayor attend forum held by educator association
Four of the five candidates for mayor of Augusta took questions on numerous topics at a Thursday forum sponsored by Richmond County Association of Educators.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Municipal Golf Course tries to play through
Years of city government missteps, and more recently an ice storm, continue to plague Augusta Municipal Golf Course, the historic but scrappy city-owned course.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta's Urban Redevelopment Agency panel again delays bond issue
The Urban Redevelopment Agency, charged with issuing a $28.5 million revenue bond to finance ongoing renovations at Augusta Municipal Building, on Friday held off approving the matter until members meet with the Augusta Commission on Tuesday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Idea for local tech incubator presented for downtown Augusta
The success of a business tech incubator that has fostered dozens of startup companies in downtown Athens, Ga., served as an example to Augusta’s Downtown Development Authority of what could be emulated locally.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Transportation tax collections continue to lag behind
As tax collections continue to lag, state transportation planners say the bulk of construction work for special sales tax-funded road improvement projects won’t commence for at least another year.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Repayment issues remain for bond issue, URA board member says
Some members of the revamped downtown Urban Redevelopment Agency still have questions about how a $28.5 million bond issue will be repaid if Augustans don’t pass a new sales tax May 20, but expect the issue and a related agreement to pass anyway at a called Friday meeting.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

EMS council must revisit November decision to name Augusta 'sole provider' of emergency services
The state has rejected a regional council’s November decision to designate Augusta as “zone provider” of emergency medical services and informed the council it must reconsider the decision, as well as members’ potential conflicts of interest.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Richmond County officials, candidates oppose special purpose local option sales tax package
Augusta Commission members and candidates and mayoral hopefuls are speaking out against the $194 million sales tax package that will appear on the May 20 ballot.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Experts say Augusta tree canopy harmed by ice storm
Already weakened from a soggy summer, Augusta’s tree canopy sustained major blows during February’s ice storm and is now vulnerable to losing more limbs in coming months as warmer temperatures awaken insect borers from hibernation, experts say.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta traffic chief named interim deputy administrator
The head of Augusta traffic engineering and a key player in the ongoing cleanup effort from last month’s ice storm was named the city’s interim deputy administrator Monday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

SPLOST questioned at Augusta public hearing
The business of selling a skeptical Augusta on the city’s new special purpose local option sales tax got underway Monday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Commissioners to speak on sales tax, stormwater fee
A neighborhood group will give three Augusta Com­mission members a forum to present their views on topics Monday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

History will be made when Augusta's next mayor is elected
Though the “old city,” pre-consolidation Augusta elected a black county commissioner, Ed McIntyre, mayor in 1981, and former Augusta-Richmond County Commissioner Willie Mays served as interim mayor for six months after the resignation of former Mayor Bob Young, the 18-year-old consolidated government has never had an elected black mayor.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

14 candidates qualify for Augusta Commission election
Fourteen candidates set their sights on five Augusta Com­mission seats during last week’s qualifying for May 20 elections.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

District 6 to be five-way race for commissioner's seat
Augusta Commission District 6 will be a five-way race, and the consolidated government is almost certain to have its first elected black mayor with the close of candidate qualifying Friday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Sales tax referendum clears procedural hurdle
Augusta’s special purpose local option sales tax referendum passed a final procedural hurdle Thursday with the Augusta Com­mission signing off on an agreement with Hephzibah and Blythe.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Former Augusta commissioner Aitken will not run for mayor
Former Augusta Commissioner Matt Aitken is out of the running for mayor of Augusta.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

6 more qualify to seek Augusta offices
Six more candidates filed qualifying paperwork Thursday to seek local nonpartisan elected office in Augusta-Richmond County.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Richmond County Commission gets update on Augusta's storm debris removal effort
Debris removal firm AshBritt Environmental has hauled more than 82,000 cubic yards of winter storm debris in the seven days since the firm started operations in Augusta on Feb. 26, and has at least 117,000 cubic yards to go, said Ralph Natale, director of operations for the monitoring firm hired to oversee storm cleanup.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

More candidates qualify for mayoral, commission races
Two more candidates for local office filed qualifying paperwork Tuesday in the Richmond County Board of Elections office.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Urban Redevelopment Agency panel delays bond issue
A reconfigured downtown agency declined to sign off on a $28.5 million revenue bond issue Monday after members questioned how the bonds will be paid off if voters don’t approve a new special purpose local option sales tax May 20.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Mason, Blocker-Adams sign up to run for Augusta mayor
There were no surprises Monday as 16 candidates who’d already announced plans to seek an Augusta elected office made it official Monday on the first day of qualifying.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission passes sales tax plan to pitch to voters May 20
In a process criticized for its breakneck speed, six Augusta Commission members on Friday approved a $194.3 million sales tax package to present to voters May 20.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Cyber general touts benefits of Fort Gordon growth
The commanding general of the Army Cyber Command said Thurs­day that over the next five years Au­gusta will become a “city of innovation and transformation” as thousands of soldiers and civilians flock to the area to develop new software and technology in defense of national security.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Mayor pushes for SPLOST OK today
The rush to get the Augusta Commission to approve a list of special-purpose, local option sales tax projects to submit to voters May 20 just got a little more hectic.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Mountains of tree debris to be converted to wood chips
Tree debris left in the wake of the historic ice storm towers stories tall at three designated disposal sites. More than 100,000 cubic yards of gigantic branches, limbs and chunks of tree trunks have been dumped there by trucks that are collecting debris from across the city.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

2 more candidates enter District 6 Augusta Commission race
Two more candidates have jumped in the race to represent Augusta Commission District 6 in south Augusta.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Mills proposal seeking $12 million, still no GRU interest in campus
The Augusta Regional Collaboration Project needs nearly $12 million to advance its “Mills District” proposal, with or without involvement by Georgia Regents University, according to ARC Executive Director Matt Kwatinetz.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta 911 center workers answer the call, find themselves distressed
Every time Beverley Colson answers a call she’s often speaking with someone on the worst day of his or her life.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Aitken, Myles to run for mayor
Former Augusta Com­mis­sion member Matt Aitken and Lori Myles, a teacher at Josey High School, filed with the Rich­mond County Board of Elec­tions last week.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

More make case for sales-tax funds
The growth of a downtown theater district, development of a regional cancer center and badly-needed library repairs all stand to benefit the community greatly, the heads of four entities seeking funds from Augusta’s next special purpose local option sales tax told Augusta Commission members Friday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Museum, others seek SPLOST funding
A handful of outside agencies seeking funding from Augusta’s seventh special purpose, local option sales tax met with an even smaller group of Augusta commissioners Thursday to detail what the entities plan to do with the funds.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Economic developers to woo defense contractors
The Augusta Economic Development Authority is planning a trip to Washington, D.C., this year to meet with defense contractors in an attempt to woo some of their operations to the region, enticing them with the move of the Army’s Cyber Command headquarters to Fort Gordon.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Government's search for new administrator begins
The search for Fred Russell’s replacement got underway Wednesday in a brief meeting between Augusta commissioners and John Maxwell, a consultant with Atlanta-based headhunting firm The Mercer Group.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

SPLOST lets residents vote on taxing selves
Augusta commissioners and interested residents are getting a crash course in “SPLOST” after Mayor Deke Copenhaver announced last month that Georgia Regents University is requiring the city have millions in matching funds in the bank by July or the state won’t begin construction of a new cancer center in downtown Augusta.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Storm cleanup costs rising
Augusta’s cleanup costs in the wake of the winter storm continue to mount.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

City set to approve borrowing $8 million for Georgia Regents University research center
An $8 million loan to help Georgia Regents University build a cancer research center and repay using future sales tax collections goes for Augusta Commission approval Tuesday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Commissioners rally to help Augusta residents after ice storm
When the ice storm hit last week, bringing down trees and power lines and leaving most folks without heat or electricity, Commis­sion­er Joe Jackson was prepared.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Deal visits to survey damage in Augusta area
Two weeks after a winter storm paralyzed metro At­lanta, Gov. Nathan Deal said he was “very pleased” with state and local response to this week’s storm after observing the Au­gus­ta area from the air with the heads of Richmond and Columbia counties.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Numerous choices for voters on May 20
Area residents have more than a new Augusta mayor and a sales tax to vote on May 20.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta arts groups request SPLOST funds for venues, cultural projects
Big visions for Augusta’s cultural arts scene are on the horizon, if taxpayers foot the bill. Renovating historic theaters, planning for new performing arts venues and infusing the city with sculptures and murals are among requests for money from the next phase of the special purpose local option sales tax.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Hephzibah, Blythe want more sales-tax funds
Hephzibah and Blythe are both asking for a larger share of Augusta’s new round of 1-cent sales tax revenue than in the past in order to fund projects their mayors say will accommodate expected growth in the region.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission seeks to narrow SPLOST projects to about $200 million
Police and prosecutors would be subjected to more scrutiny over how they use cash and property seized in criminal investigations under a bill that cleared the state House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Augusta Commission sets work session to discuss SPLOST
A work session Thursday will serve as “SPLOST 101” for the Augusta Commission, which is faced with developing a sales tax package over the next six weeks despite most members having little experience with the funding mechanism.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Fred Russell won't run for Augusta mayor
After a much-hyped foray into the Augusta mayor’s race, former Augusta Administrator Fred Russell has backed out, his campaign chairman Duncan Johnson said Tuesday morning.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Advisory panel to appeal proposed cuts to sheriff's office
While the 2014 balanced budget approved by the Augusta Commission included across-the-board 2.4 percent cuts in all the consolidated government’s departments, lopping what amounts to nearly $900,000 from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office will really hurt, a member of the sheriff’s citizen advisory board said.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

South Augusta rehab unopposed, gets planning panel's OK
A proposed upscale rehab facility for professionals once fiercely protested by neighbors in south Augusta sailed through the Au­gusta Planning Commission on Mon­day without a single dissent.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Leaders plan for traffic improvements to support Fort Gordon growth
Improvements to the Au­gusta area’s transportation network can’t come quick enough to support the projected growth of Fort Gordon, transportation officials and city leaders say.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Russell's mayoral run not welcomed by some Augusta commissioners
They’ve worked closely with him, some for seven years, but Augusta Com­mis­sion members have mixed feelings about former Ad­min­is­trator Fred Russell running for mayor.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Copenhaver looks at legacy in last city address
Making his final “State of the City” address Thursday, Mayor Deke Copenhaver outlined a legacy of creating jobs, building buildings, uniting the community and having an occasional regret.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Second Augusta Commission District 2 candidate announces run
Augusta pastor and businessman Cleveland “Cleve” Garrison announced Thursday he’s seeking the District 2 Commission post.
Source: Augusta Chronicle

Area emergency operations officials pleased with storm preparations
Emergency operations officials for Richmond and Columbia counties said they were prepared for the winter storm that caused icy roads and dropped a couple inches of snow on the Augusta area by Wednesday morning.
Source: Augusta Chronicle