Referendum for $240 million dollar bond issue for new JBA moves forward


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s a move that has those at the James Brown Arena feeling better, but there’s still work to do.

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“When we look at the new James Brown Arena, I think people are going to be happy to see it. You know we call ourselves the second largest city in Georgia, now is the time for us to do what we need to do to be there,” said Coliseum Authority Chairman Cedric Johnson.

The commission Finance Committee voting to hold an election this November allowing voters to decide if the City should issue up to 240 million dollars in bonds to pay for the new arena.   

“This coliseum is something we need to do. We need to put our money where our mouth is, we need to go out and vote yes when this comes up,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Bobby Williams.  

Commissioners will have to make a strong sales pitch because voting yes means property owners would be approving themselves a tax increase.  

“I will sell the auditorium because I think it’s needed in our community. It will improve the image of our community, it will allow us to bring in a higher grade of entertainment so our community,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

Moses Todd of the group I love Augusta is not sold in part because the current chairman of the commission finance committee Sammie Sias is facing a two-count federal indictment. 

“I think it’s bad timing to move forward. I think they need to dot some I’s and cross some T’s,” said Todd.  

Are people trusting this government enough to say yeah okay I’ll vote for this? 

“No, a one word answer, I don’t see how people of Augusta can trust this government enough to say yes,” said Commissioner John Clarke.   

 If it doesn’t pass in November is there anyway a  new arena could be built?

“We need to have it passed George,” said Johnson.   

 So there is hard work ahead for this show business.

The full commission must still approve holding the election, finance officials are still working out how much taxes would go up if voters approve the bonds.

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