A little retail therapy is coming to downtown Augusta

By: Ryan Houston
By: Ryan Houston

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, April 24, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Augusta commissioners say they are tired of losing sales tax dollars to surrounding counties.

The numbers for January and February don't look so good, so leaders will use a private retail consulting firm to try and bring back those sales tax dollars.

"It's called a leakage report. We find out where they are going. People are not just going to Columbia County. They're going to Atlanta," said DDA President Margaret Woodard.

"The less sales tax you got, the less rollback you have in the ad valorem tax and that's the concern," said City Administrator Fred Russell.

Concerns have led to a new plan. The main attraction coming soon will be Retail Strategies. It's a consulting firm that's supposed to bring more business to downtown and other parts of Augusta.

"Our Development Authority has done a great job with big stuff. We have not done a good job with retail," Russell said.

This new company could be paid $100,000 over a three-year period to recruit, retain and bring new business to the area.

"This is not an overnight process. The first year is spent gathering information. It takes time to do this," Woodard said.

"I think it's a great move. Our city center is really starting to come together. We are seeing new restaurants and all," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

The firm is working to bring business downtown. Commissioners will have to approve expanding their work to other parts of Augusta.

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