Abstention leads to no decision on Patch management - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Abstention leads to no decision on Patch management

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

The Patch is still under the City of Augusta's management.

That after District 9 Commissioner Marion Williams abstained on a vote to lease the golf course to Virginia Beach Golf Management.

After a substitute motion to deny the lease failed, a roll call vote to approve it came up.

With the vote at 5-4 in favor of approval, Williams abstained, denying Mayor Deke Copenhaver the opportunity to break the tie.

"I knew if I had continued to vote that it probably would have ended up in a different result," Williams says. "So I just stayed neutral on it."

Williams and other commissioners say the past history of privatizing the course weighed into their votes.

"We have privatized it twice," Williams says. "It has not worked."

But the lack of action comes as a disappointment to the five other commissioners voting to lease The Patch.

"I think this contract is going to save the taxpayers the money for this right now," says District 3 Commissioner Mary Davis. "We have good accountability measures in place with the contract. I think it's time to move forward."

But District 4 Commissioner Alvin Mason says it's time the commission stops focusing on what he calls minor issues and starts trying to solve bigger problems.

"This is not a major need. This is a want," Mason says of the course. "We will not deal with the wants first and the needs last."

But others disagree.

They say The Patch is not just a want, but a community staple.

"The Patch is too important to so many people in this city," says Davis. "We need a golf course that is available to people to play, and it needs to look good and it needs to be enjoyable."

Many of the commissioners voting no say they'd like to wait to re-visit the issue until after a new Parks and Rec Director is hired. They say they'd like to hear what that person has to say about the course.

There currently is no money in the 2013 budget set aside to fund The Patch.

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