AUGUSTA, GA. (WFXG) - Mayor Hardie Davis said he requested a Chevy Suburban LTZ to do city business. He said Augusta’s position as the second largest city in the state - including Richmond County - with the fastest growing economy plays a part.
“We’re not just meeting and having local conversations, but we’re meeting all across the state of Georgia talking to other elected leaders, we’re talking to developers, not just in the state but outside the state, as well," said Davis.
For example, he's hosting 30 mayors from across the state here in Augusta in April.
The mayor explained, “You certainly want it to be functional enough that you’re not cramping 4 or 5 mayors from across the state of Georgia in a Toyota Camry.”
Some residents, like Johnny Brown, believe the priority should be on improving the lives of residents currently struggling.
“The car issue, I mean that’s something they got to really work on last. Worry about other stuff, the budget and other stuff, people that’s homeless,” Brown said.
District 8 Commissioner Brandon Garrett said no one discussed the vehicle in budget meetings, which is why he was the only commissioner to vote ‘no’.
“We’ve gotta protect the taxpayers’ money and we do that through the budget process, and that’s where I’d like to see these types of discussions happen,” Garrett said.
Commissioner Sean Frantom said he couldn’t support the $60,000 Suburban the mayor wanted. Eventually, with a vote of 8-1 [Garrett voted ‘no’, Commissioner Marion Williams was absent], commissioners did approve purchasing a Tahoe.
Allisa Samaroo, a lifelong Augusta resident, thinks that’s fitting for the mayor’s position and priorities.
"To get any meetings, any kind of gatherings he needs to be a part of, that's a great way of transportation. I think it is right for the taxpayers to pay for that."
Next step, a Competitive bid process, where the city’s central services department will identify a vehicle and then move forward with purchasing. That money for the Tahoe will come from the capital expense fund.
This isn’t his first request for a city-funded vehicle. According to the Metro Spirit, he requested a Ford Explorer in 2015.