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Public Not Hearing It On Delayed Public Hearing

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Activists are blasting Augusta's handling of a public hearing.

A public hearing on the creation of a downtown Urban Redevelopment Plan was supposed to start at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. This plan is the one that originally referred to downtown Augusta as a "slum area".

But at 1:30, Augusta Commissioners were dealing with that budget vote, so the hearing was delayed nearly 2 and a half hours.

"With the reconvening of the Commission meeting...November 19th meeting, to approve a budget, and the Commission meeting coming on the heels of that at two o'clock, we had to have the public hearing later than expected," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

But, a more than two hour delay is had to handle for some who wanted to attend. "Did you block the public an opportunity to speak?" we asked Mayor Copenhaver. "No, George. I think the public knows it was very important to get a budget approved," he answered.

But, activist Lori Davis says she took time off from work to be there before 1:30 for the public hearing. "I planned it so I could be at the public hearing and did not get that opportunity, and I think this is very wrong. There are rules in place that govern public hearings, how far in advance the public has to be notified on issues, and none of these rules are being followed in this city period," said Davis.  

Mayor Copenhaver apologized to the people who couldn't attend because of the delay.

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