Cleaning downtown has been the city's job since the CADI crews were sent packing in January.
“Obviously, we have a limited number of resources. When you add a little more intensive effort downtown, you reduce some of the actions in other places. We haven't gotten any complaints yet,” says City Administrator Fred Russell.
Tuesday, Augusta Commissioners voted not to renew the CADI program, but supporters say without it, the city efforts downtown haven't been good enough.
“We need something else, we're going to have to find a way to do it. We're going to have to find a way to work together,” says CADI Board member Natalie McLeod.
“We've got to find a plan, bottom line of it is…downtown ain't going to clean itself, we can't expect the business owners to do it because they're going to take care of what's in front of their doors. They're not going to be concerned about their neighbors. If it's an empty storefront, somebody has got to man that,” says Mayor Pro-Tem Corey Johnson.
Some merchants are pushing for a volunteer approach by businesses to keep downtown kept up.
Along Saint Sebastian Parkway, and other streets in Augusta, private groups have been responsible for paying for landscaping and maintenance and city leaders are discussing whether that approach of a public-private partnership could be applied downtown.
“There's a potential we could talk about some of that for downtown, let those people who want to contribute financially contribute that's not on a milage,” says Russell.
For CADI, downtown property owners in the Business Improvement District were taxed on their property values, so owners were paying different amounts for the same service.
But for now, cleaning downtown will fall on businesses, as well as the city forces…something CADI supporters say should have been going on anyway during the five years of the program.
“The legitimate complaint that the nay-sayers have is that the city really dropped the ball, it really hurt the program which was meant to be supplemental and ended up picking up everything downtown and that was wrong,” says CADI Board vice president Paul King.
King says the CADI Board will meet next week to discuss the future of the organization downtown.