HomeOpinionMichael MeyersOpinion: Augusta is Open for Business

Opinion: Augusta is Open for Business

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Augusta is open for business… except they make you wear a mask (inside all city buildings, anyway).

This isn’t a bad idea considering masks have obviously helped us drive the COVID-19 case numbers back down. Well, it’s that and the fact that more people are getting vaccinated. I applaud the people who researched and made the decision to get vaccinated. Also applaud the companies that have put incentives in place for those people that have yet to be vaccinated. 

I was reading about the bonuses that were put in place by the city and actually congratulate them on the progressiveness of our elected officials. We can see that Augusta leaders are trying their best to be proactive in leading the fight for higher wages. I spoke with a few commissioners and some community stakeholders who believe this is the only way to compete. They also feel that this will allow people to get to a realistic living wage. The question I have is: will this make people get off their butts and actually go back to work?

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Now for the people that say you can’t get information in Augusta, you missed a treat if you missed the Augusta Land Development Conference.

Stacy Pulliam, a local businesswoman and candidate for District 2 said, “The conference was nothing short of extraordinary! When you have a visionary like Steven Kendrick, you only expect the best.” 

This event was the first of its kind in this area according to some I spoke with that attended. There were comprehensive presentations on affordable housing, market rate housing, low income housing, enterprise zones, opportunity zones and much more. It was open to the public and the spots filled up so quickly, I had to sneak in and act like a report just to hear parts of it…

If you live in Augusta, are ready to help propel out city to the next level and would be interested in developing, you need to stay tuned. I will make sure to post the dates for the next one. There was not a single person that I spoke to there that was not happy they went. 

While we are on the subject of the tax commissioner, have you been in that office lately? It runs like a well-oiled machine. I walked into the one in South Augusta and there was someone there to greet me and ask what did I needed help with, and was so impressed with the efficiency! I said, “Man, if he can change this office like this, maybe he can change the… Well, we shall see if any other special announcements come from that direction soon. 

I will say this — look for a hefty list of contenders running for that seat if for some reason it becomes available. It will draw plenty of attention from people on the outside looking in and some that are on the inside already. I’m being told that a local television personality may be retiring soon and may try his hand in a little local politics. 

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“The more things change, the more things stay the same,” I would hear my grandfather say.

That is what I think of when I see the numbers from the 2020 Census. Augusta saw little growth and we can come up with numerous reasons why that would be the case. The one that sticks out in my mind the most is the huge increase in population for Columbia County. 

Is that because it’s safer? Maybe it’s because they have so many new developments and homes? Maybe it’s the great school system that is touted constantly?

Whatever it is, we are seeing something that would be alarming to some and encouraging to others. We could all argue the fact that growth is something that should be celebrated and shows that as a region, we are doing things that are inviting to outsiders looking for a place to settle.

I met a young man recently that stated he moved his family here to live with his daughter. They had been retired for about 10 years and stayed with another daughter initially out on the west coast. They visited this daughter and her family here in Augusta and decided they didn’t want to go back. 

I asked him, “What made this place so appealing?”

He said, “It was affordable, great weather and I could find something to do.”

That made my heart smile because we hear so many negative things about Augusta.

He went on to say, “My daughter’s house is so big that we stay on one side and they stay on the other… I can give her a little bit money and she appreciates that.”

I said all that to say: let’s continue to love on our city; good, bad or indifferent. Let’s watch how things begin to shape up. I know we can get bogged down in the day-to-day matters we think are handled right or handled wrong, but if we put positive affirmations out, we can be the change we want to see. 

There are three dates in October that will be set for public input on redistricting; stay tuned for those dates. The meetings should get interesting, considering some school board member may have to… Well, here I go getting ahead of myself again.

Michael Meyers is a Columnist for The Augusta Press. Reach him at [email protected]

10 COMMENTS

  1. Good writing….we need to look at “Augusta” as the tri-county region and not be jealous of another county… face book groups on History Augusta Ga are a great way to look at and appreciate and be proud the deep, positive and wonderful of history of Augusta…City Augusta has only a few things that if improved would make a HUGE difference in its appeal. (like cleaning up the streets and gutters….well here I go getting ahead of myself)

    • IS ANY CANDIDATE ADVOCATING FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ?
      ISN’T THE CANDIDATE THAT YOU ENDORSED OPENLY TELLING SUPPORTERS THAT THE NEW MAYOR SHOULD RECEIVE AN INCREASE IN SALARY ?
      IS $ 185,000.00 THE PROPOSED NEW SALARY ?
      AREN’T INCUMBENT COMMISSIONERS DISCUSSING THE “need” TO INCREASE COMMISSIONER’s SALARIES FOR THEIR PART TIME POSITIONS TO $25,000.00 ?
      HOW MUCH OF THIS LOCAL GOVERNMENT CAN THE PROPERTY OWNERS AFFORD ?

  2. I can tell you why i moved out of Augusta..high taxes, horrible schools, politicians that think the taxes are their personal bank account (see Hardie Davis’ credit card use) and the fact that they never follow any of the rules that they themselves set (see recent fire chief hiring) and lastly? How many consulting fees has Augusta paid for in the last 20 years that they have refused to follow the results? if you said all of them you’d probably be right…

  3. Another great article my friend. The tax office is the most friendly and easiest department to work with for sure. My only complaint was the increase of our property taxes by nearly $400. I don’t care who or why caused it. I will not be voting for the JBA bond due to it being placed on the back of taxpayers again that will dramatically raise property taxes along with an increase in light fees that is probably coming. Not sure where my vote for Mayor will be. I love my city but damn the government makes it hard to stay. Only good thing coming up is the upcoming reduction of school taxes next year due to my age.

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