Lots of empty commission chairs in the SPLOST meetings

News12 First at Five/ Feb. 24, 2014

Augusta, Ga------(WRDW) More organizations are coming forward with their wish list for this year's SPLOST package. Many Augusta Commissioners aren't even hearing the plans only one showed up at Monday's meeting.

Commissioner Bill Lockett tells News12 that this process is being rushed. "I have indicated that this is rushed and that we should take our time. We should go through the requests," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.

"We are going in at the timeline that was approved on a state level," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

A handfull of groups requested more than $30 million in sales tax projects. Only one of 10 commissioners were even there to hear it.

"Last Thursday, I was involved in a training session with emergency management," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.

"I was here on Friday for that splost meeting. I was preoccupied on Thursday," said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.

The Canal Authority is requesting $5 million ,The Arts Council wants 14.4 million and the Augusta Regional Collaboartion is requesting $12 million to develop the Mills District. GRU is yet to sign on into moving into the area.

"Regardless of what GRU does this is not at all about what GRU does. It's about creating an area of the city to produce an anchor," said Non-profit Director Mathew Kwatinetz.

"At the end of the day, we need to focus on our needs and go back to what SPLOST was intended for," said Commissioner Joe Jackson.

For some an empty room is sending a loud message. "If it's really necessary we will be here. if it's just for show, I think you'll find many of us will not be here," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.


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