AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – Out with the old and in with the new James Brown Aarena – if a majority of Augusta voters say “yes”.
“Maybe something will be better for me,” said Nellie Scott when he asked if she wanted Augusta to have a new arena. “Yes, I do.”
But voting “yes” to a new arena means a 0.5% increase in the city sale tax.
“It’s going to raise it by half a penny, but I think it’s worth every penny, it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the community,” said Drew Daniel.
“Worth it, worth it, you have to spend money to make money,” said Marc Austin.
A new arena would change the skyline of the city for decades. But as early voting begins, the average for such a big decision has been just 102 voters per day.
“For a presidential election you can do well over a 1,000 for the day. But when you have just one question on the ballot, there’s not really a lot of information out there, you’re not getting the same ad,” said Election Director Travis Doss.
Starting Saturday, advance voting locations will include the Municipal Building, three satellite locations, and the Charles Evans Center on Highland Ave. will be used because the Brigham Center is under construction.
With early voting, using the satellite locations, and holding a county-wide referendum, the cost will be high, even if voter turnout isn’t.
“I’ve asked for about $195,000 from the Commission, which they approved. Advance voting can cost upwards of $60,000,” said Doss.
But the city will bill the Coliseum Authority to recover the costs of holding a the James Brown Arena sales tax vote.