Monday, January 23, 2012

Corporal Gripweed: Augusta Can't Afford Deke's "Collaboration Center" Right Now.

Monday, Jan. 23, 2012
Augusta, GA

“Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have, for something they don't need.”
            Will Rogers

Mayor Deke Copenhaver recently announced plans to create a, “Collaboration Center” , possibly located downtown, with a $100,000 economic development line item budgeted to him by the Augusta Commission. Matching funds were pledged by the “private sector” on the same day according to reports.
So I wondered, “what is a collaboration center, do we need it and why should it cost $100,000 of taxpayer dollars to have it?”

After researching the subject, and not finding many specifics, it seems that “collaboration centers” are syndicates that can include a wide variety of public and private institutions brought together under one roof.
Basically it is a network for small business owners, large hospitals, or even universities, to talk to one another, and share information in an  attempt to solve problems within the community as a whole. Kind of like a centralized,“think tank,” for the economic engine of the region.

On the surface this doesn't sound like a bad idea. And it may not be. But the next question begs to be answered...Do we need it?

I was under the impression that our city leaders, directors of hospitals, and our wealthiest  business people already know what they are doing.  At least that's what they've been telling the public whenever a citizen stands up to question any decisions they make. Don't forget, we have the Development Authority of Richmond County, and the Downtown Development Authority as well. Why do we need a new center to do what they should have been doing all along?

Now I'm not trying to sound cynical, but at first glance this center sounds like a glorified Chamber of Commerce. We already have one of those. Why do we need another right now?

All of this brings us to the last question posed....Can we afford it?

While it seems the city has money in reserves, it appears we are still operating at a deficit. The city has been furloughing workers and in some cases outright eliminating jobs. I'm for streamlining the government, but to use what little money has been saved and,  throw it at a  questionable “Collaboration Center” right now, just doesn't  seem proper.

 I also believe there are many civic leaders and just plain average citizens who would be willing to donate time and energy to move this idea forward ,without having to fund another, “board,” or, “authority,” to get it done. A center such as this sounds like a good idea, however, timing is key to the success of these types of ventures.

Right now we don't need it, and we shouldn't take resources from an already struggling city to pay for it. We should wait until the city is cleaner, safer, and better. Then we can begin thinking about creating a Collaboration Center to be proud of. 

 I fear I'm “whistling past the graveyard” on this one though. Mr. Copenhaver's mind seems to be made up...
 To me,this is one item where the downside, outweighs the advertised least for now...***

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1 comment:

Savoir Faire said...

This is a favorite ploy of the most corrupt in things at high dollar...the point is to steal the money and reduce the money available for other better projects. If Deke is behind this then this is a signal that he is corrupt and not just stupid. All the people who would come together are all establishment figures who already know what they intend to do and need a study group to give them permission to steal money.