Commissioners make decision on transit during marathon meeting

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News 12 at 11 o’clock / Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Commission seal

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Tuesday's marathon commission meeting went longer than four hours, causing some leaders to walk out.

"They're playing games with taxpayers' money," said Augusta Commissioner Marion Williams.

He's talking about his colleagues and some of their votes. After hour three of a long meeting, some commissioners got hungry and started eating snacks.

They were able to make some decisions finally. Sheriff Richard Roundtree got the OK to try and build support among downtown property owners to create a new tax district. The money would help pay for extra deputies and cameras.

"Each business owner has their chance to choose or not choose the service. It's not something being forced on them," Roundtree said.

McDonald Transit will take over Augusta's bus service on Aug. 1 after a 6-to-4 vote.

"I wanted to keep the transit in house because it would've been a lot cheaper for us. We could've tweaked it," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.

The name game continues with City Attorney Andrew MacKenzie and his ruling. He says Jacquelyn Humphrey and Yvonne Gentry are coordinators instead of directors. Some disagree with that ruling.

"It's a game they're playing, and it's utterly ridiculous," Lockett said.

Taxpayers might consider the 2013 millage rates being lowered a good thing. They're actually rolling back meaning a small tax break to some.

"Don't roll it back now and raise it at the end of the year. I always say if you're going to raise taxes, do it at the beginning of the year," Williams said.

Commissioners also voted to rotate committee meetings and commission meetings. Time will tell if that will keep commissioners from having to leave meetings they were elected to attend.

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