City spends millions on upgrading municipal building

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News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Augusta municipal building (WRDW-TV)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta's municipal building is about to get a $40 million makeover. The city administrator says they've already ordered boxes to start packing up.

"It was determined that it would not be cost affected to phase it as this point. There's a need to fix the handicap access and fire codes," said City Administrator Fred Russell.

Russell is talking about the $40 million renovation project for the municipal building. Commissioners voted it through with a 7 to 1 vote.

The renovations include updating the elevators, more handicap access and changing the entrance, among other things.

"I think the money that will be spent on this building is all about doing right for the city. The residents do use the building for their services," said Commissioner Mary Davis.

"What we're going to do is just borrow the balance. It's about $22 million or so. We're using the first 18 to pay off the interest for the first couple of years," Russell said.

"On the building, we were maybe going to spend $20 million and renovate two floors or issue some bonds at a 2.6 interest rate. It's a good rate right now," Davis said.

The city already has $18 million in the bank that you approved in the SPLOST vote.They're hoping you'll give the thumbs up again when the tax shows up on the ballot in two years.

"If that doesn't pass, we have a second bite at the apple. We have money that can be rolled down to minimum levels, where we would take that SPLOST and roll it down to minimum levels. If that doesn't pass, we have money in the capital account that could be used as a last effort," Russell said.

Your tax dollars will fund renovating the building where most of us go to pay our taxes.

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