Merchants Push Do It Yourself Approach For Downtown Cleanup

Commission To Vote On Downtown Safety Plan (Image 1)

Downtown streets have been clear of the CADI cleanup crews since the first of January, after Augusta Commissioners did not vote to renew the program and the special tax district for downtown that pays for it late last year.

 And downtown property manager John Bowen likes it that way though he supports CADI when it started five years ago.

“We got our tax bill and we realized we were paying close to $8000 dollars on one property, $15 hundred on another just to pick up the same amount of cigarette butts someone else was doing in less square footage,” says Bowen who manages six Broad Street properties.

Commissioners are scheduled to debate Tuesday keeping the special downtown tax in place to allow the CADI program to make a come back.

“There's other solutions we can do other than the CADI system the cost of doing the CADI system is way too much money,” says Bowen.

“We don't need it; it's a waste of money I can pick up trash as good as anybody is there a trash picking up school, says Mike Walraven.

Walraven is one of many downtown pushing a do it yourself approach to cleanup it's called AVID- Augusta, for Augusta Volunteer Initiative Downtown, it's got a Facebook page and momentum from some downtown businesses and property owners.

“Basically volunteers people business owners downtown we are committed if we see a piece of trash, a beer can on the sidewalk we pick it up ourselves,” says Walraven.

Downtown Development Authority Director Margaret Woodard supports the AVID effort but says you can't replace CADI with volunteers.

“When you look at the magnitude of what needs to be done it's hard to get volunteers down on an everyday basis to do the work that needs to be done, says Woodard.

One thing Woodard is certain of is that downtown is dirtier without CADI

 “Absolutely,” said Woodard.

Commissioners are operating on a deadline for a CADI comeback this year.

Back in December neither the motion to renew CADI or end  the tax district set up to pay for  got the needed six votes, so CADI is in sort of limbo.

This has   Augusta's   tax offices saying they need some direction from commissioners -this month- on whether CADI is going to stay or go so they can prepare tax bills properly.

Tax assessment notices are scheduled to go out May 3rd.    


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