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Strong feelings expressed at Project Jackson hearing

Posted: September 18, 2013 - 7:43am
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People brought signs showing their feelings about Project Jackson during the meeting.  Sara Caldwell
Sara Caldwell
People brought signs showing their feelings about Project Jackson during the meeting.

On Sept. 10, the city of North Augusta got closer to receiving approval from the Aiken County Council for its role in Project Jackson.

The county council voted 6-3 in favor of the second reading of the plan during a special meeting that included a public hearing Sept. 10 at Aiken Technical College.

Before the vote, the council heard from dozens of people about the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, which would be used to help fund Project Jackson, in a hearing that lasted a little more than three hours.

Boos and shouts of encouragement could be heard periodically from the crowd.

At one point, as North Augusta Mayor Lark Jones spoke, the crowd’s response prompted the Council Chairman Ronnie Young to sternly remind the audience to “be ladies and gentlemen about this thing.”

Many who spoke in favor of the project cited growth, improving the quality of life and job creation.

Several who spoke in
opposition were mostly against the public-private partnership and instead suggested that the project be completed using only private funds. Many also encouraged the decision-makers to let
the project go to referendum so that the residents of Aiken County could decide.

County Councilman Phil Napier made a motion for a referendum, but only he and Willar Hightower voted for it.

The third and final ordinance reading was scheduled be held Tuesday during the regular council meeting.

Go to northaugustatoday.com for the latest on Project Jackson and results from Tuesday’s meeting.

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