Salaries cut into Hyde Park relocation funds

20 percent of relocation funds

Almost 20 percent of the funds intended to relocate residents of Augusta’s Hyde Park neighborhood will go toward paying workers who will help in the move, leaving just $1.9 million to compensate the owners of 350 parcels in the area slated to become a detention pond.


According to an agenda item going before the Augusta Commission’s Ad­min­is­trative Services committee today, the city’s Housing and Community De­velop­ment office is requesting the addition of three temporary full-time employees and half the salary of another full-time employee to be paid from the relocation funds.

Chester Wheeler, the department’s director, had already hired the three new staffers when the city realized the new positions needed commission approval, City Administrator Fred Russell said.

Brenda Halls, Tequetta Cody and Tammie Phillips are named on the agenda item to be paid $20,781 each plus up to 20 hours of weekly overtime annually for four years with no benefits. In addition, half of Housing Manager Hattie Hogan’s salary will be paid from the relocation funds.

Wheeler was out of the office Friday, but his agenda item says Hogan will supervise the three staffers, who will help Hyde Park residents using a “relocation office” at 2024 Golden Rod St. The city-owned building is known as the Mary Utley Center for one of the neighborhood’s well-known late residents.

The commission voted 6-3 last year to reallocate $2.3 million from special purpose local option sales tax funds for the project, though Engineering Director Abie Ladson has said the entire plan will cost much more.

The area has seen plummeting land value since the 1990s, when a nearby factory was the subject of a $46 million cleanup.

Later, elevated contaminants in the soil and groundwater were traced to a nearby junkyard, which was the subject of a $10 million Superfund cleanup.

Also included on today’s committee agendas are:

• A $94,923 change order for the Windsor Spring Road reconstruction project

• A discussion of pay disparities among Augusta firefighters and the potential to hire a compensation analyst

• A memorandum of understanding between the commission and Georgia State Patrol related to relocating a patrol helicopter to Augusta Regional Airport

• New regulations for food trucks

• A discussion about Au­gus­ta donating the Jesse Car­roll Community Center to the city of Hephzibah

• A discussion of taxicab fare increases, including jumps during Masters Week, when a cab ride from Augusta Regional Airport to Augusta National Golf Club will cost $65

The committee meetings begin at 12:30 p.m.

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