Augusta Commissioners are depending on the SPLOST project to pass

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News12 at 11 o'clock/ Tuesday 18, 2014

Commission seal

Augusta, Ga (WRDW) -- A 200 million penny sales tax project list is really important to Augusta Commissioners. They're depending on that future money to pay past debt on Municipal Building renovations.

Some commissioners are not too pleased with this process. The nine floors of the Municipal Building is under construction.

The new entrance is at least a year from being finished and now commissioners are scrambling to find other ways to pay in case the SPLOST fails.

"I mean you want to leave that out there ? It would be a heck of an entrance wouldn't it. Come down and hang your flag off the steel," said Commissioner Grady Smith.

The current elevator is not in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act. City officials say the more than 50 year old building needs updating for the people who work inside it every day.

"It's more than just the renovations. It's taking care of our employees. Our employees are working in horrible conditions. Anyone with a camera should take a look at what they're working in," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

Last year, commissioners voted to give the marble palace a $40 million face lift all at one time. Former City Administrator Fred Russell told commissioners it was easier to do all the buildings at once.

"It was part of my decision to let Mr. Russell go. Don't leave it on our backs to come up with a funding source," said Commissioner Joe Jackson.

The Urban Redevelopment Agency (URA) board responsible for issuing the bonds to pay for the building wanted a meeting with commissioners. They were seeking clarity on what happens if voters don't approve of the SPLOST package with $20 million of it going to this building.

"It's whether or not we should be approving bonds prior to SPLOST because the repayment of the debt depends on SPLOST," said URA Chairman Henry Ingram.

Ingram's board approved the bonds and commissioners plan to keep putting the SPLOST package before voters. It's all an effort to get money to pay for work that's already been done.

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