Government

More News | | | Editor

Cuts eyed for Augusta's $6.3 million budget hole

Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011 9:37 PM
Last updated 9:46 PM
  • Follow Government

Augusta Commission members seemed to agree Thursday on ways to plug a $6.3 million hole in the 2012 budget, but it won’t be painless for city employees and agencies.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver called the budget work session “tremendously productive,” and all seven commissioners present appeared to reach consensus with City Administrator Fred Russell about how to balance the budget, which must be approved next week.

Excluding law enforcement, the plan calls for all departments and agencies to trim their budgets by 2 percent to 8 percent, on a sliding scale that’s based on department size.

That level cut could mean a personnel reduction in larger agencies such as the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library, which relies heavily on local funding and is seeing its state support decrease.

“We’re going to feel it, no question,” said Regional Library Director Teresa Cole, who attended the workshop.

Recreation Director Tom Beck said an 8 percent cut would likely mean closing facilities.

Other components of the plan agreed to Thursday include:

-$1.5 million in savings from prisoner housing costs

-$1 million transfer in to the general fund budget from capital outlays

-$1 million savings from a reduction in force of 34 undetermined positions

-$300,000 in savings from reorganization

-$1.1 million transfer in from the reserve fund, which is currently at $32.8 million

-$140,000 in new spending for a DUI court

-$100,000 for a new mayor’s economic development “micro-level” office

-$168,273 for three new public defenders

-A midyear cost-of-living adjustment for all employees, the first since 2008

The savings don’t make up the entirety of Augusta’s 2012 general fund shortfall. The fire department’s portion of the budget still has a $1 million shortfall that commissioners have considered raising the fire portion of Augusta’s millage rate to cover.

Deputy Administrator Tameka Allen will present the plan at Tuesday’s commission meeting because Russell will be in Sarasota, Fla., interviewing for a county administrator position there. The commission is expected to receive the plan as information Tuesday, then vote on it at a later date.

Comments (19) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 11/10/11 - 11:38 pm
0
0
Why does the number go up

Why does the number go up every year? 2 million one year then .................Is SPLOST being miss managed or did we, once again, fall for the banana in the tailpipe?

macktaylor
29
Points
macktaylor 11/11/11 - 12:24 am
0
0
Where's the budget for

Where's the budget for prosecution? We get more public defenders but the
District Attorney's office does not get an adjustment?

Privy
104
Points
Privy 11/11/11 - 01:46 am
0
0
Do away with the marshalls in

Do away with the marshalls in the entrance... Sure they would have something better to do. And another thing why have the lockers at the entrance, someone could put something in there. C'mon use some sense. I also believe that it would be real easy to get a weapon in with no problem, pass the checkpoint.

Privy
104
Points
Privy 11/11/11 - 01:49 am
0
0
Since consolidation there has

Since consolidation there has been nothing but cutbacks and the lose of employees in the departments...

Brad Owens
4715
Points
Brad Owens 11/11/11 - 05:19 am
0
0
So let me get this right,

So let me get this right, Public Safety will be cut 2% to 8% but the Mayor is getting a $100K slush fund?

From story... "$100,000 for a new mayor’s economic development “micro-level” office"

No wonder Mayor Copenhaver called the budget work session “tremendously productive.”

WOW, priorities, we gots em'

Brad

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 11/11/11 - 05:37 am
0
0
Correct me if I'm wrong Brad,
Unpublished

Correct me if I'm wrong Brad, but I assumed this was a cut list and the
mayor's office is part of it. When you read the whole report, I believe
the list is cuts that are proposed and the mayor is on board for those cuts.

Brad Owens
4715
Points
Brad Owens 11/11/11 - 08:16 am
0
0
dickworth1, No, if you read,

dickworth1,

No, if you read, these are the overall items in the budget. It says it includes;

"$100,000 for a new mayor’s economic development “micro-level” office"

"$140,000 in new spending for a DUI court"

"$168,273 for three new public defenders"

But yes, I see your point. We need to ask the writer to clarify these points.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 11/11/11 - 08:18 am
0
0
I do not read it that way

I do not read it that way either. When did they approve that position? I think it is new spending. Crazy. Cut the spending. The Commission of Roads and Bridges should go back to its original duty roster. And stop coming up with any new ways to spend OUR money.

Brad Owens
4715
Points
Brad Owens 11/11/11 - 10:03 am
0
0
DuhJudge, The way I am

DuhJudge,

The way I am reading this is that these are parts of the budget, not just cuts.

Susan, can you clarify please?

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 11/11/11 - 10:39 am
0
0
I think that you are right,

I think that you are right, Brad. I read it the same way

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 11/11/11 - 11:05 am
0
0
"Other components of the plan
Unpublished

"Other components of the plan AGREED TO Thursday include:

$140,000 in new spending for a DUI court
-$100,000 for a new mayor’s economic development “micro-level” office
-$168,273 for three new public defenders
-A midyear cost-of-living adjustment for all employees, the first since 2008".............................these read like additions not subtractions.....

Little Lamb
46894
Points
Little Lamb 11/11/11 - 11:28 am
0
0
That $100,000 for a new

That $100,000 for a new mayor’s economic development “micro-level” office is to hire a new employee to work full-time on promoting the ball park. Fred Russell is supposed to be figuring out how to have taxpayers pay for it "creatively."

Little Lamb
46894
Points
Little Lamb 11/11/11 - 11:31 am
0
0
That "midyear cost-of-living

That "midyear cost-of-living adjustment for all employees" is a bad idea.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 11/11/11 - 11:49 am
0
0
A mid year cost of living

A mid year cost of living adjustment? Seriously?!

Sorry, but govt employees need to suffer in the recession and with inflation just as much as the rest of us. They deserve no better or no more special treatment.

In fact, I say that govt is 99.99% of the reason for our economic woes. They should take the largest hit.

Brad Owens
4715
Points
Brad Owens 11/11/11 - 01:50 pm
0
0
It's “tremendously

It's “tremendously productive” Chillen. Giverment spending is...I guess..

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 11/11/11 - 02:04 pm
0
0
While I agree there should be

While I agree there should be more cuts. I would like to set the record straight as a contractor 99% of the business done in this area is in some form or way government work. Those of you who have this grand idea that the government is not feeling the downturn are sadly mistaken. Maybe when your guy gets elected to office and we see that nothing has changed. We probably won't here from you people who continue to complain. Its all a game and you people are the ones who have fell head over heels for it.

IntrepidES96
108
Points
IntrepidES96 11/11/11 - 02:26 pm
0
0
Why don't we just close

Why don't we just close Wallace Branch Library on Laney Walker? It's probably just 1 mile down the road from the main library downtown.

Every time I've gone by there, the only people inside are 3 employees and maybe 1 patron.

It's very obvious that we don't need 2 libraries that close to each other.

I'm sure that would help cut out some of the unnecessary costs...even if the employees were not laid off and relocated to other locations.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 11/11/11 - 03:27 pm
0
0
Many of these Public Defender

Many of these Public Defender clients were found to have huge cash assets, cars in every member of their families name bought with proceeds from crime, houses in every family members name bought with proceeds from crime, etc. etc. then they stick us with their public defender bill. When are the bad guys going to be stopped from using the good guys money to get out and commit more crimes against the good guys so bad some good guys can no longer afford to pay taxes much less keep their home from the tax man. It's not the taxes that bug U.S. it's the fact taxes are used to destroy the taxpayer. That is a criminal offence. When are some tax users going to be prosecuted like the criminals they are? These laws have been on the books for years but you never see a tax user prosecuting a tax user until they have no other choice. What about all the money the tax users let their employees walk off with? They won't even investigate that and it would plug the 7 million dollar hole all by itself. The tax users need to recover all this money they keep letting walk out the door and give it to our police or start jumping in front of the thugs and all their guns and see what it feels like.

Brad Owens
4715
Points
Brad Owens 11/11/11 - 04:37 pm
0
0
New fire equipment?

New fire equipment? Noooooo,but how about someone to help the mayor get his stadium passed? OakeyDookie

TrulyWorried
15348
Points
TrulyWorried 11/11/11 - 06:25 pm
0
0
7 commissioners were present

7 commissioners were present - where were the other 5? Lost dollars within one year - 25 thousand two times - theft and "gift" that I know of - anymore? - they could all be solved and the money returned to where it belongs - the taxpayers' fund!

socks99
250
Points
socks99 01/27/12 - 07:52 pm
0
0
Salary cuts, while unpopular,

Salary cuts, while unpopular, can reduce the budget in-line with expenses without having to lay-off folks. Augusta may be lucky in the sense that property values haven't fallen as much as elsewhere; or, Augusta's bubble in housing simply hasn't popped yet. (Or, local assessors are in cahoots with the government in an attempt to prop-up valuations.) Unfortunately, most elected leaders are overly optimistic about revenue projections, spend little effort to prepare for fiscal crises, and figure they will be retired and out-of-office when the heavy rains come. The bottom-line for all elected officials remains: Their power, popularity and influence are ALL intimately related to the sound fiscal management of the organizations they have been entrusted to manage. Moreover, when cities fail, over-tax, or under-deliver services then it is always the citizens who suffer the most!

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs