The Augusta Richmond County Commission gave the tee to The Patch instead of a $300,000 sales tax allocation for the city-owned golf course, with one commissioner saying the course money was needed more at the leaky community center where he voted.
Brian Hendry, chairman for the private firm The Patch that took on management of the Augusta Municipal Golf Course in January, traveled from Scotland to request the tax money, which he said he only learned about after signing a contract with the city.
"I thought I put up a good fight," Hendry said. "But the fight continues. I said I would make changes at The Patch. I will continue to make changes. The extra money, I think, would have made things better."
We are talking about $300,000 in SPLOST money already earmarked for The Patch by voters. "That's what they voted for," declared Commissioner Jerry Brigham. "That is what we are obligated to do."
Brigham is convinced voters should be outraged that commission feelings have changed now that the city no longer runs the course. "Now that we have it leased," Brigham said, "we are going to take the money from one asset and transfer it to another asset, and we are going to have them question even further our ability to manage SPLOST."
Commissioner Bill Lockett said the deal is not up to par for taxpayers.
"We were so eager to give away the taxpayer's money. That is very frustrating," Lockett said. "Because the more the golf course is enhance ... the more profit he is going to make, but it doesn't impact us at all. We still only get $1,000 a month."