Augusta reacts to potential millions in stimulus dollars


AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) Augusta is certainly not immured from the continuing financial impacts from the coronavirus pandemic, but city leaders could soon see millions of dollars flowing in to help ease the pain.

Money talks, and Augusta is hearing  words from Washington.

“We haven’t had those deep discussions that we’re going to have. That’s a lot of money, so I’m looking forward to having those discussions,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.

The city has already received millions in COVID relief money, now commissioners are hearing tens of millions of dollars more could be on the way.

“We’re on track, if the plan goes through as presented, to receive about 40 million dollars,” said City Administrator Odie Donald.

“I was surprised at that amount and happy to receive the 40 million dollars for the city because that gives us the opportunity to do a lot more with it,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

Commissioners have already heard from the Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce, it’s looking for a half million dollars for its programs, but what about other plans?

“I don’t think we have a plan yet. I think it’s going to be a deep discussion on how we best utilize this money. Most areas that need it…obviously the small business side of it, obviously the people that are hurting,” said Frantom.

“It will be a challenge to make sure the dollars get to those who really need this,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

“I look forward to those discussions, just make sure we’re having holistic discussions not a commission grab or a group grab,” said Commissioner Frantom.

The administrator says the city will need to weigh all  proposals it receives.

“We want to make sure it’s a competitive process. We can’t just totally commit to giving one group funding, making sure that everyone knows when the money is going to roll out,” said Donald.

Now Mayor Davis is suggesting the federal legislation could be approved by the middle of March, when Augusta would see the money flowing this way is a little less clear.

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