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Monday, November 5, 2012 - 11:45am

Negotiations Continue For Augusta Convention Center

A group of Augusta-Richmond County commissioners is proposing changes to the operating agreement for the city’s new convention center in hopes the modifications will speed approval of the contract so the center can open on time.

Three commissioners met with attorneys and contract experts for more than three hours Friday. They’ve sent a handful of adjustments back to the company that would run the TEE Center for the city, Augusta Riverfront LLC.

Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle said the changes include increasing the county’s bed tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to provide a dedicated funding source for the convention center.

“We needed an allocated funding source so we don’t take away from our sheriff’s department that has to be funded, [the] fire department as well as our [other] services,” Guilfoyle said.

Guilfoyle said the changes also include setting a maximum amount the county will pay each year for the money-losing center.

The convention center operating agreement is on the agenda for Thursday’s commission meeting, but could be pulled for further work. The lack of a contract cost the center its first convention last week when organizers backed out.

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