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Q&A: North Augusta City Council goals for 2019

January 3, 2019

Editor’s note: This article is the third in the Aiken Standard’s four-part series highlighting goals for local government councils in Aiken County. Aiken City Council was featured Jan. 1, Aiken County Council was featured Jan. 2, North Augusta City Council will be featured Jan. 3, and the Aiken County Board of Education will be featured Jan. 4.

The City of North Augusta had a year full of growth in 2018, and City Council knows what’s next on their agenda.

The Aiken Standard asked Council members what their goals were for the new year, and they ranged from building a new Public Safety headquarters to connecting the Greeneway to downtown.

Councilman Jimmy Adams said he is not running for re-election to the City Council in 2019, and because of that, did not submit any goals.

N.A. Mayor Bob Pettit

Question 1 — What are your top three goals for North Augusta in 2019?

It is difficult to pick my top three goals. Maintaining the city’s excellent services to the residents has to be at the top. This includes services across the complete spectrum, utilities to public safety. Much of our 2018 effort was geared toward passage of the Capital Projects Sales Tax referendum. The voters’ approval of the extension allows the city to move forward with strategic planning for the future North Augusta. I continue to lead the effort to develop a vision statement for the city as part of that effort. Getting that right is important. It will take time and citizen involvement. It is counterproductive to work toward an objective inconsistent with where the city is headed. We will work hard to continue the momentum the city is experiencing. Obviously, completing the development in Riverside Village is important. While the developers are ultimately responsible for construction, it is essential the city continue to be a part of the discussions. The addition of an educational aspect for J.C. Calhoun Park and the Meriwether Monument must move forward in 2019.

Question 2 — What is one issue you would like to see addressed in 2019?

I believe the issue of the Meriwether Monument must be addressed. I made my position clear on what I believe is the best approach. I will be making a formal proposal to City Council early in the New Year to begin moving in that direction.

Question 3 — With North Augusta and Augusta both growing, how can the cities work together to complement each other?

Obviously each city has enormous growth opportunities in this era where cyber, or more broadly information dominance, has taken center stage. The Savannah River is simply a geographic feature, not a boundary keeping us apart. Obviously Riverside Village and the Georgia Cyber Center have created a major opportunity for growth in the downtown areas of both cities. I know I am working hard to provide the very best live, work and play environment for the entire City of North Augusta. I believe Mayor Davis is doing the same for Augusta. When the opportunity to work closely on a specific issue, such as the lock and dam, we have discussions and a coordinated position and approach whenever possible.

Ken McDowell

Question 1 — What are your top three goals for North Augusta in 2019?

1. I will endeavor to personally practice good decorum and communication at council meetings and while conducting council business. This will be my attempt to support seeking facts and truth and avoiding assumptions while encouraging others to do the same. Hopefully, this will help make our meetings and discussions more tolerable, especially with those who seem to take their personal agendas and opinions to an extreme.

2. To get the process started for construction of the Public Safety building and get some progress going for a workable plan to get the Greeneway into downtown.

3. To ensure that our water and wastewater infrastructure projects stay on task. While our public works folks do great work, our system is old and there are lots of needs that must be addressed. The alternative is a high potential for busted water and sewer lines.

Question 2 — What is one issue you would like to see addressed in 2019?

To resolve the lock and dam issue in a manner that preserves the North Augusta riverfront. I truly fear that a drop in the level such as currently proposed by the Corps would end up hurting both Augusta and North Augusta, but I believe North Augusta will be harmed even more due to the river wall that runs on the S.C. side. I don’t want to see a mud flat instead of a river and I truly believe that the majority of our citizens feel the same.

Question 3 — With North Augusta and Augusta both growing, how can the cities work together to complement each other?

I would like to see an effort by the two city administrators and the two mayors to sit down together about every other month to discuss what is happening in each respective city and to determine if there are projects that could be developed and advanced together for the mutual benefit of each. I believe that each successful business and industry in each respective city benefits the other. And of course with the anticipated cyber tsunami on the way, we both stand to gain tremendously through jobs, housing, education and hopefully and even better local economy.

Fletcher Dickert

Question 1 — What are your top three goals for North Augusta in 2019?

1. Break ground on the new fire station and complete the design of public safety headquarters such that construction of headquarters can start by the beginning of 2020.

2. Update our development codes.

3. Start working on the downtown Greeneway Connector.

Question 2 — What is one issue you would like to see addressed in 2019?

We must improve public relations and transparency with the citizens. The Aiken County school system has made great strides in this area over the past several years. I’ve been really impressed with their efforts and would like the city to do similar things. The school system has dedicated staff to this which I believe is what is needed. I hope we will be able to work it into the 2020 budget, which will be developed third quarter of 2019, additional staff with the sole responsibility of PR and transparency.

Question 3 — With North Augusta and Augusta both growing, how can the cities work together to complement each other?

I’ve been saying for years that every community has its own identity and amenities which are unique to each. We must look to complement each other instead of constantly trying to compete with each other which only leads to the duplication of amenities that already exist within the greater area. (i.e. Augusta Entertainment Complex and Columbia County Performing Arts Center). Also we need to understand that a rising tide raises all boats. Thus, what is good for our neighboring community is also good for us too. As it relates to one specific thing that we need to work together on … we need to work with Augusta to help create a more cohesive and connected riverfront which activates the river. We need to work together on the Georgia Avenue/13th Street/James U Jackson bridge replacement project which is scheduled for 2022 as well as the 5th Street Bridge improvement project. The new James U Jackson bridge needs to better connect our communities both for vehicles and pedestrians. We need to work together to make it an iconic bridge which not only makes a statement but also enhances connectivity.

Bob Brooks

Question 1 — What are your top three goals for North Augusta in 2019?

1. To be re-elected to City Council.

2. To continue the development of Riverside Village to include Riverside Park and Greeneway realignment and completion.

3. To seek a salary increase for our employees in the 2020 budget sessions which are held in September and October 2019.

Question 2 — What is one issue you would like to see addressed in 2019?

We must revisit the downtown Greeneway project and work toward a resolution that would benefit and assist the downtown redevelopment. I believe that Bluff Avenue would be best route to tie the Greeneway to downtown and also eliminate the open ditches on Bluff Avenue at the same time.

Question 3 — With North Augusta and Augusta both growing, how can the cities work together to complement each other?

For both cities to reap the benefit of new growth, a coordinated effort must be made to ensure that planned and future projects are included in state and federal programs such as SCDOT, GDOT and the ARTS where federal funds are programmed frequently. These agencies work on roadways, bridges, greenways, bike paths, etc.

Pat Carpenter

Question 1 — What are your top three goals for North Augusta in 2019?

1. To get land to build our new fire station. As everyone can see, the old building is so outdated and is in such bad shape on the inside and out. In order to keep our city safe, they need a better working environment. Every building in this city is so beautiful, except for our Public Safety. This should be a top priority this year.

2. I think we need to look back at sidewalks needed in certain areas. Years ago we were putting sidewalks in, put this has sort of died out. I think especially around Paul Knox (Middle School) and North Augusta High School. A lot of our middle-schoolers play on high school level, as of now, they are having to walk in the streets to get to the high school.

3. I think we continue to keep a close eye on our projects for (Capital Project) Sales Tax IV. Be sure things are completed in other sale tax projects and keeping our citizen informed.

Question 2 — What is one issue you would like to see addressed in 2019?

The main issue for 2019 is building our new Fire Station and purchase of the land. This is a must for our city.

Question 3 — With North Augusta and Augusta both growing, how can the cities work together to complement each other?

I feel to keep Augusta/North Augusta working together is to keep the communication lines open. I really liked when Mayor Pettit had the conference with the mayors of Aiken and Augusta. Let’s work together to make the CSRA a better place to live. All three cities can truly compliment each other by working together.

David McGhee

Question 1 — What are your top three goals for North Augusta in 2019?

1. To use remaining funds from (Capital Project) Sales Tax III to complete some sidewalk and stormwater improvement projects.

2. To continue a transparent platform for community involvement.

3. To start the fire station and public safety headquarters project.

Question 2 — What is one issue you would like to see addressed in 2019?

The starting of the fire station and Public Safety Headquarters project.

Question 3 — With North Augusta and Augusta both growing, how can the cities work together to complement each other?

I believe that the two cities work well complementing one another through economic development and use of local chambers and businesses.

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