Most Augusta leaders are sad about penny sales tax defeat

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News 12 First at Five/ Wednesday, May, 21, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Three months ago, Mayor Deke Copenhaver was pretty confident voters would approve the use of their extra penny just a bit longer.

"I believe our voters will approve the SPLOST package. If it doesn't happen we will have to find another route," said Mayor Copenhaver.

It's exactly what leaders are having to do now that voters said no to continuing a one cent sales tax. It was close at 51 percent to 49 percent.

The last time SPLOST was defeated like this was around a decade ago. Leaders say the no vote this time is costing the city more than $40,000 in interest and fees.

Commissioners approved borrowing $8 million from the bank before the election to give to GRU-Augusta in order to help the school raise $12 million for a cancer center.

"Since SPLOST VII didn't get approved the $8 million does not go to GRU. It goes back to the bank," said Interim City Administrator Tamika Allen.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree doesn't get that new radio system or the new cars. Engineering won't have more than $50 million to handle the roads or dilapidated properties. The city can't buy King and Sibley Mills for $5 million a year.

Interim City Administrator Tameka Allen said they have to wait until the end of 2015, before they can take SPLOST back to voters. She said, in the meantime, if commissioners want a project done in a specific area of town, property owners could have to pick up the bill.

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