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Augusta Commission to discuss budget at retreat

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The Augusta Commission will weigh in on whether to plan additional furlough days, cut services or potentially raise taxes during a four-hour budget and goal-setting retreat Wednesday at Augusta-Richmond County Library.

"The fact is that we're probably projecting revenues will remain flat," said City Administrator Fred Russell, who arranged the meeting. "Are there any options that we have to increase revenues? If not, we need to talk about what services do we look at to determine how to meet the revenue projections."

Russell said he wants the commission to decide whether to plan for a third year of furlough days. This year, five scheduled furlough days are expected to trim $1 million from the city's 2011 general fund-law enforcement operating deficit of about $9 million. During 2010, there were two citywide furlough days.

Russell said he also wanted direction about whether to plan for a tax increase, which the commission hasn't done since 2008. Last year, the commission lowered the millage slightly to offset small gains made on the tax digest.

Even as the city plans for fiscal 2012, which begins in January, it has not realized all the savings that will balance the 2011 budget. A government restructuring plan that would have saved $1.5 million if entirely implemented at the first of the year will likely save just $700,000 to $800,000, Russell said. The sale of surplus city land and buildings projected to generate $2 million awaits the commission's selection of a real estate firm.

The meeting also will be an opportunity for commission members to set other goals, Russell said, such as Commissioner Bill Lockett's request Monday for a "demolition derby" targeting dilapidated properties across the city. Right now, Augusta budgets just $100,000 annually to condemn and remove such structures.

If you go

What: Augusta Commission Retreat
When: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Wednesday, July 13
Where: Third Floor Boardroom, Augusta Public Library, 823 Telfair St.

Comments (22) Add comment
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mtxbass1
0
Points
mtxbass1 07/12/11 - 01:49 pm
0
0
I've got an idea. Let's

I've got an idea. Let's build a baseball stadium downtown while we cut services, raise taxes, plan additional furlough days and increase fees. That'll increase revenue, right? /s

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/12/11 - 01:53 pm
0
0
mtxbass1: I know what you

mtxbass1: I know what you mean. Talk about a city with mixed up priorities.. well that's Augusta for you.

bojangles
0
Points
bojangles 07/12/11 - 01:55 pm
0
0
JUUSSSSSSTTTTTTTT a bit

JUUSSSSSSTTTTTTTT a bit outside.... ball four.

linux
98
Points
linux 07/12/11 - 02:01 pm
0
0
Notice the politicians like

Notice the politicians like to talk about "revenues," and not use the dreaded "T" word. Although Augusta isn't exactly a big city, like others it is liberal and probably spends a lot on social services and public employee pensions and medical premiums. Since I'm new to this area I don't know the details but is sounds like they are waiting for the big economy recovery to make them well again. It might be better to make the cuts to services, reduce the size of the workforce and live within their means.

Lori Davis
1087
Points
Lori Davis 07/12/11 - 02:20 pm
0
0
A ton of revenue could be

A ton of revenue could be generated through code enforcement. Just look around our urban neighborhoods. The only problem is, the only way to generate this revenue is through the courts, and I have yet to see a Magistrate's Court judge issue a fine even when a slumlord who knows better is standing in front of him for sentencing. Unbelievable!

Sweet son
13700
Points
Sweet son 07/12/11 - 02:28 pm
0
0
Cut the fluffy services

Cut the fluffy services because most of the people that use them don't pay taxes anyway.

Should have checked with the School Board for funding of a nice retreat at Lake Oconee.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 07/12/11 - 02:31 pm
0
0
The population of the city of

The population of the city of Augusta may be more liberal than conservative, but the government is run by a mayor (who identifies as a republican) and a majority commission that leans toward republican.

coja_20
0
Points
coja_20 07/12/11 - 03:30 pm
0
0
Why do we have to get 12

Why do we have to get 12 furlough days and the department heads get a 15% pay raise. Taking from the poor and giving to the rich. Wow

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 07/12/11 - 03:35 pm
0
0
linux. I love your "revenue"

linux. I love your "revenue" reference. Yes, its true. The govt likes to make it seem like they are earning revenue - like a business. But in reality all they do is confiscate earnings by force - through taxes.

This word play must have been focus group tested some years back and revenue sounded nicer and more peaceful than taxation.

I also love how they are calling their four hour meeting a "retreat". The taxpayers should be so pleased that they had their retreat in town instead of travelling out of town for it.

Ushouldnthave
0
Points
Ushouldnthave 07/12/11 - 04:11 pm
0
0
It seems that they are doing

It seems that they are doing anything they can to match budget with tax revenue. That is what you do in a zero sum game. The Federal way is to "raise the debt ceiling" so that they can continue to borrow and spend. It is painful to balance a budget. It requires cuts in services or raised taxes, but it will be rewarding when revenues again begin to rise because the county won't have debt hanging over it (like states like California do).

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 07/12/11 - 04:49 pm
0
0
Lori nailed it. We need to

Lori nailed it. We need to fine these absentee slumlords and balance our budget. 2 birds 1 stone. Think the commissioners can stop thinking about giving millions to Billionaires long enough to do that for U.S.?

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 07/12/11 - 06:25 pm
0
0
good point, coja. why are
Unpublished

good point, coja. why are department heads getting raises? who's read the budget? anyone else getting raises?

TheOneJustice
52
Points
TheOneJustice 07/12/11 - 06:31 pm
0
0
I think if the city gets any
Unpublished

I think if the city gets any more furlough days then I say the city will strike becuase apparently Fred Russell can't get the job done, I was always told if you cant afford it dont buy it. But the city's idea is if we cant afford it cut the city workers pay and buy it. Screw Fred Russell fire him if you ask me and the rest of these commsioners and if the city does go with more furlough days let the employees camp outside ofd fred russell's house!

Juniorsample
0
Points
Juniorsample 07/12/11 - 06:35 pm
0
0
Well these furlough days are

Well these furlough days are not working for everyone. Take the Fire department for example. They furlough one person or two off a shift at any given fire station only to call someone in who is scheduled off to work in that person's place and pay him time and a half. Where's the savings? All the elected officials such as the Mayor, the Sheriff, the Marshal and all the Commisioners except one commisioner and we all know who that is, have voluntarily took the furlough days. They even volunteered the deputies who try and keep your streets safe in taking these furlough days. That means less patrols and investigators to fight crime. So where is the fairness in all this when a part of the government that isn't bound by the state constitution and their Chief isn't elected to get over on the system. Thanks Augusta (Government) for all your past mistakes that have gotten us to our present situation. Job Well Done :(

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 07/12/11 - 07:42 pm
0
0
Man.....if we only had a
Unpublished

Man.....if we only had a mixed use complex anchored by a single A baseball stadium on the river....that would solve everything...(xhtmlsarcasm)

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 07/12/11 - 07:50 pm
0
0
Where are all of the

Where are all of the supporters of the baseball stadium?

All I hear is silence and a chorus of crickets.

dichotomy
43286
Points
dichotomy 07/12/11 - 08:23 pm
0
0
Yeh, go ahead and raise

Yeh, go ahead and raise taxes. There is 38% of us that haven't been able to find the right property in CC yet but getting another tax increase from the Lords of the Dump will be a good incentive to look harder.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 07/12/11 - 08:47 pm
0
0
Why is it that when the

Why is it that when the school board or the commission holds a retreat, it is always held in a really really small space so no one from the public can attend?

seenitB4
116754
Points
seenitB4 07/13/11 - 07:52 am
0
0
A retreat....that is so

A retreat....that is so laughable....give them a houseboat down on the river of course.........move it up & down the Savannah river & pretend they are on a cruise ship in the Bahamas.:)

seenitB4
116754
Points
seenitB4 07/13/11 - 07:56 am
0
0
Meeting at 10am

Meeting at 10am sharp.....Have your baseball with you---can bring volleyball-soccerball-bowlingball-basketball-football-----any will do!!

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 07/13/11 - 08:36 am
0
0
Novel idea-Make all those

Novel idea-Make all those that are able and receive govt. assistance to work for the state or the county for that money. As I said earlier in the week I was in Blimpies on Highland getting a sub and paid with cash. Two guys that looked like weight lifters paid with a food stamp card. I just could not see why they had those cards unless they belonged to someone else. If they did belong to someone else they didn't get their sandwich. Lori, I feel just like you-Section 8 has moved in all around and it doesn't feel as safe as it used to. Don't raise my taxes to support those on public assistance and Augusta has alot of them. Make them do something for the money they receive.

Lori Davis
1087
Points
Lori Davis 07/13/11 - 09:19 am
0
0
ww1949, I agree with you.

ww1949, I agree with you. The problem is that all of these programs are Federal ones. It would take an act of Congress to make this happen. On the other hand since Magistrate's judges are not fining anyone, put these people to work with community service; one community service choice and that would be picking up trash throughout this city or in their designated neighborhood, period.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 07/13/11 - 10:27 am
0
0
Lori, They would probably be

Lori, They would probably be picking up some that they threw down. The judges can do this but what would the costs be to supervise. Jail time if they do not show up. Locked in the cell 20 hrs of the day should be enough to make them come.

Lori Davis
1087
Points
Lori Davis 07/13/11 - 01:10 pm
0
0
WW, How about they take your

WW, How about they take your driver's license like they do with DUI, issue a permit to drive until hours are served. There are plenty of people now supervising community service, which is a joke in Richmond County. Use these same people to supervise trash pick up. Put them on the roads with the Trustees. It can be figured out.

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