Downtown Augusta Property Owners Don't Vote Converning Extra Pol - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Downtown Augusta Property Owners Don't Vote Converning Extra Police Patrols

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Augusta, GA -

Ooollee Bricker has been a property owner on Broad Street for five years, but when given the chance to sign a petition to tax herself for extra police patrols, she didn't jump.

"I didn't sign it. I mean, this is the heart of Augusta, the heart of the city...if we need more police coverage here, the city should provide it so everyone can come down here and feel safe," says Bricker.

In July, Sheriff Richard Roundtree went before Augusta Commissioners, proposing a downtown patrol district to raise $355,000 for nine additional officers dedicated to the downtown area. The plan needed the support of a majority of the 630 property owners, who would agree to a special tax to pay for it.

City planner John Paul Stout says, with the deadline to get the signatures five days out, only 93 property owners have signed on.

"It's not going to happen in this capacity," said Stout.

"We have supported the initiative, but what we have heard, that without a cleanliness part of it, a lot of business owners didn't want to support that," said Downtown Development Authority director Margaret Woodard.

Last year, downtown was a special Business Improvement District for the CADI cleanup program, but due to complaints, Commissioners did not vote to renew CADI.

"We've already had CADI once before, it was a bad experience. I think we all got a bad taste in our mouths, we need the coverage down here and the city should provide it to us," says Bricker.

The majority downtown don't want to pay extra for patrols, but those proposing this say that isn't a defeat. "We take this as a lot of people saying the sheriff and his administration is providing adequate police presence downtown which is exactly what the intent of this was," says Stout.

There is still some time before the October 15th deadline, but Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office says there will be no effort to put the patrol district in place because of the lack of support. He says, when it comes to downtown the Sheriff's Office is now looking at "plan B".

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