Columbus residents question 1999 sales tax spending on Liberty District

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A 1999 sales tax included a project that involves redeveloping a historic area in Columbus known as the Liberty District.

A group of concerned citizens met Tuesday to discuss why they say they're still not getting what they were promised

"Where is the money? That is a good question, it's not being accounted for and people can't see it that means it's not being used for, what it's doing, so I don't know if you want to call it funny money, sticky fingers," says Waliesah Wilson.

Numerous citizens say they felt like they have been misled on where the money from the sales tax went because they say they haven't seen the change they want in the area.

The Liberty District is bound by Victory Drive to 11th Street, and Veterans Parkway to 10th Avenue. Citizens say this once thriving area is now consumed with poverty.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says the money has been spent in that area and it had a chance to bring business in just a few years ago.

"We had the opportunity to invest another $33 million just a couple of years ago and it would've been a residential investment as well as public park amenities, amphitheater, things that would've greatly enhanced the Liberty District including the Liberty Theater," Mayor Tomlinson said.

Mayor Tomlinson says that partnership should be established to get this area revitalized.

"They have the option of going elsewhere and they will go elsewhere if they feel people are combative or don't want to work in partnership with them," Mayor Tomlinson said.

"I would like for the city to accept accountability and say you know what if that's all it is then shut it down if you've got nothing to hide why not allow forensic auditing to come in.", says Watson.

Concerned Citizens of Columbus say they will continue to with the city to resolve issues. The group has recommended hiring a chief financial officer.

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