News 12 at 11, October 14, 2008
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga.---The SPLOST and Tennis and Aquatics Center have people in Columbia County talking. The county held an information meeting to show you exactly what your money can get you.
The Augusta Aquatics Center is popular. Extra popular for Columbia County swimmers. The county says roughly 75 percent of the Augusta Aquatics swimmers drive from Columbia County.
That's why Marcia Dehaven and her husband came to Tuesday night's meeting to support the new $18 million dollar facility.
"We chose to live here and we have thoroughly enjoyed seeing things improve which, will cost money but I think the dividend will pay for itself," says Marcia.
The model for the facility includes a water park for children. But Marcia is disabled and swimming is her form of rehab. She believes the water therapy can be for big kids too. "I feel there are a lot of people who live here in Columbia County, retired people and that this is the perfect activity for them," says Marcia.
The project will be funded by a bond, paid back by a property tax increase -- about $20.00 dollars for every $100,000 dollar home.
And for some that means a no vote.
"You've got Clarks Hill if you want to go swimming, go up there," says Thomas Smith, who lives in Appling.
Another reason for the 'No' is traffic at Lewiston Rd. and I-20. "It's already a disaster in traffic and it's only going to get worse," says Thomas.
Big decisions for voters, that could cost big bucks.
The Aquatics Center and the state of the art tennis courts aren't the only thing on the ballot. Voters will also vote to keep a one cent sales tax that goes towards millions of dollars worth of projects around the county, like expanding the justice center. Projects where a penny can go a long way.