News 12 at 11 O'Clock / Monday, July 9, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- First Friday's existence is in limbo after six people were shot after July's First Friday.
"It didn't happen in the hub of First Friday as it were, it happened outside of that," Mike Sleeper, president of Augusta's Greater Arts Council said.
The Arts Council helps promote the event, and says anything happening after 9:00pm is not First Friday.
"It's unfortunate that people are linking the shooting with First Friday because I'm not really sure that it's causal," he said.
"First Friday is over at 9:00. Everything after 9:00 is a public safety issue," Lori Davis said.
She's running for the District 1 commission seat, and says the city's chickens are coming home to roost in terms of public safety.
"What I mean by that is our city leadership does not see public safety as a big enough issue to properly fund it," she said. "When they tell you there's not money for public safety, follow where the money goes in this city."
News 12 came across documents highlighting a Business Improvement District. That district is downtown, and pays a special tax for C.A.D.I. or Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative. In 2008, that tax brought in about $350,000 dollars for C.A.D.I., a program that includes public safety as a large part of it. The program says private safety personnel will be trained by the sheriff's office to help provide highly visible security.
"They were led astray," Davis said. "They were told that the money was going to go toward public safety."
News 12 caught up with business leaders who confirm that. They say the only thing they've seen C.A.D.I. provide with their $350,000 worth of tax dollars is trash clean up.
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