T-words, taxes and turnout played role in arena defeat


Augusta, Ga (WJBF) A shiny new arena for downtown, but only if a majority of Augusta voters decided to punch its ticket.  

 “I guess it blew up in flames. a lot of people I talked to were on the fence about it,” said Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight. 

But Augusta voters got off the fence and with slightly more than 60 percent voting no, a landslide defeat.  

“I think everybody was looking forward to the opportunity to have a new arena and the voters spoke, that’s very important for leadership to hear I think a lot of voters were put off by the way it was going to be funded,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett. 

 Funding was a big tax increase of about 100 dollars for every 100-thousand dollars in property value.  

“The big T word, taxes is what I believe scared a lot of people,” said Commissioner McKnight.  

 “That on top of the Board of Education raising its mileage rates,” said Commissioner Garrett. 

 People also didn’t vote, 90 percent of the city’s registered did not cast a ballot, costing support commissioners say. 

“Those individuals that did not go out to the polls to express their position one way of the other could be considered at fault or the reason,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.  

 Whatever the factor, it’s a fact now Augusta voters were not feeling good about the plans for a new James Brown Arena, In Augusta George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6. 

When a SPLOST vote is defeated city officials can’t hold another election for at least 12 months, elections officials say there is not the same restriction on a bond referendum vote. 

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