Property Owners Start Voting On Downtown Augusta Patrol District - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Property Owners Start Voting On Downtown Augusta Patrol District

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Augusta, GA -

Leroy Mays feels it's what might be needed to get people back to downtown Augusta - extra deputies providing extra security.

"It's very important for the consumers to feel safe, when they come down here that will put a damper on things if the protection is not here," said Mays, while walking on Broad Street.

To provide the protection Sheriff Richard Roundtree, and city planners need support of a majority of the area's property owners.

Sheriff Roundtree is proposing hiring nine new officers to patrol just the downtown area.

Six hundred thirty six property owners received "Dear Property Owner" letters this month, and a copy of the plan for the patrol district, along with a ballot to vote on whether they support the creation of the patrol district.

Forty blocks downtown will be covered between 4th Street and 13th Streets, and Greene Street to the Savannah River.

"We're focused on giving property owners an immediate option for an additional police presence downtown," says John Paul Stout, a city planner working with Sheriff Roundtree on creating a "Continuously Patrolled District" downtown.

Augusta Commissioners signed off on the idea six weeks ago, but for it to happen, property owners will have to vote for an extra tax. State law says 51 percent will need to be in support.

"Unfortunately for me and all the property owners we work with, we find it too heavy on the policing side and the cleanup is not being addressed," says Paul King, a downtown property owner.

The Proposal isn't like the CADI cleanup program. It's for security, paying for officers and equipment, like three new patrol cars.

"I'm hearing a lot of negative feedback about the police cars. People don't want to spend the money for that one. You put police cars in, those cars will be leaving the downtown district very quickly," argued King.

The property owners have their ballots and now it's up to them to cast their votes.

"I don't think it's going to go through as it's currently proposed, but tomorrow's another day," says King.

"We view it as an option. If people like it, we'll implement it, but if not, we're not going to beat down someone's door demanding a signature," says Stout.

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