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Augusta Commission delays budget cuts until retreat

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 9:22 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012 4:29 AM
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The Augusta Commission delayed implementation of about $2.5 million in budget cuts set to end some youth recreation programs and eliminate 34 jobs, but agreed to move forward with the prospect of outsourcing its Human Resources Department.

During a three-hour meeting Tuesday, Mayor Deke Copenhaver broke a 5-5 tie to approve holding off making the cuts, which were needed to balance the 2012 budget already in process, until a Feb. 16-17 commission retreat.

City Administrator Fred Russell said he was “not uncomfortable” with looking at transferring $1.5 million from the city’s savings and an additional $1 million from projected new property tax revenue available when the assessor's office implements new technology to cover the shortfall as he and the commission re-examine where precisely to make the cuts.

Commissioner Corey Johnson’s motion to do that was supported by commissioners Alvin Mason, Bill Lockett, J.R. Hatney and Grady Smith.

Opposing the move, Commissioner Jerry Brigham said he “had a real problem with spending imaginary dollars,” meaning the anticipated revenue from the tax office.

Also opposed, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles said city government ought to be “run like a business” that delivers what citizens need and eliminates waste.

After a presentation from ADP representative Randy Welch, the commission also voted 10-0 for Russell to obtain a price quote and contract with the human resources firm, although it will mean the elimination of several city human resources jobs.

Russell said he supported the move because “the status quo in my mind is not good enough.” Welch said the move will reduce Augusta’s costs by about 40 percent and all services will be provided by ADP’s large Augusta Solution Center.

Lockett said he wanted the proposal to come through the Administrative Services Committee he chairs, and Russell said it would.

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star
643
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star 01/17/12 - 11:06 pm
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ADP would have to do a better

ADP would have to do a better job with HR than what is currently inplace; maybe ADP can, at least, make sure the health insurance files are handled accurately.

dichotomy
31957
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dichotomy 01/18/12 - 12:09 am
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You just cannot get these

You just cannot get these clowns to make a decision to cut spending. It is in their DNA to be crooked and spend more taxpayer money. You want to talk about a "do nothing" group of individuals, that is our mayor and commission. The only time they can sing the same tune is when they agree to raise our taxes.

I know where you can save $600K right away. Don't build a new hanger for the state helicopter. Here is some more savings. Don't spend a dime of taxpayer money on a ball park. And if you really want to save a ton of taxpayer money, ban Simon from talking to any City of Augusta official. Oh, that might cut into your payoffs and crooked real estate deals, huh.

Now, make the $2.5 million rec cut, eliminate the 34 jobs, and contract out HR. Bingo! Now your can give us a nice property tax REDUCTION by valuing our real estate to the actual market value according to GA state law.

Riverman1
82057
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Riverman1 01/18/12 - 06:34 am
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Greece, Portugal, Augusta.

Greece, Portugal, Augusta.

Riverman1
82057
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Riverman1 01/18/12 - 07:06 am
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Mayor Copenhaver-Boardman

Mayor Copenhaver-Boardman reminds me of the Carnival Cruise Line captain who was off in the lifeboat while the ship capsized.

buddyg
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buddyg 01/18/12 - 09:43 am
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Why don't they make the

Why don't they make the POLICE drive their own cars to and from work like every body else does.This would save a lot of money on gas and upkeep on the cars.

GaOldCompass
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GaOldCompass 01/18/12 - 10:09 am
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I like Fred Russell. But the

I like Fred Russell. But the comment about "let's give ADP a try" - how do you give them a try? To outsource a department takes a lot of planning and work. It's harder to un-outsource in you have to re-hire and re-train the staff for the department.
And the outsource company doesn't have skin in the game except for their paycheck.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/18/12 - 10:15 am
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The current city employees

The current city employees don't have skin in the game except for their paychecks.

Little Lamb
45190
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Little Lamb 01/18/12 - 10:19 am
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Lost in the debate is the

Lost in the debate is the following:

. . . an additional $1 million from projected new property tax revenue available when the assessor's office implements new technology to cover the shortfall as he and the commission re-examine where precisely to make the cuts.

What this means is that the tax assessor's office is planning to raise our assessments with some clever software. Our city government is growing, growing, growing. We need to stop that and shrink the government and government's reach.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 01/18/12 - 10:36 am
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Buddy: "Why don't they make

Buddy: "Why don't they make the POLICE drive their own cars to and from work like every body else does.This would save a lot of money on gas and upkeep on the cars."

Visibility, which equals crime deterrence in the neighborhoods where they are parked. Money well spent IMO.

KSManning
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KSManning 01/18/12 - 10:58 am
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Little Lamb said "What this

Little Lamb said "What this means is that the tax assessor's office is planning to raise our assessments with some clever software"

Not really. This clever software will actually catch those property owners that have put in sheds, patios, pools, etc without getting permits and therefore not being taxed on them. The extra taxes will come from things that should have been taxed int eh first place and the only way to do that without this software is to physically go out to every house in the county and compare the current state with what the tax bill states. And that would cost taxpayers WAY more than $1M.

itsanotherday1 said "Visibility, which equals crime deterrence in the neighborhoods where they are parked. Money well spent IMO."

I totally agree. In addition many of these patrol officers still respond to issues on their way home and off the clock. J.D. Paugh was an example as well as the officer who was getting gas at the station on Gordon Hwy at Highland who took care of the accident report when a car hit me there even though he was on his way home after working his shift. I stood there and listened while he called his wife to tell her he'd be late for something at his daughter's school and then proceeded to tell me it was nothing when I thanked him for staying. He could have made us wait for an on-duty officer and gotten to his daughter's activity on time.

As a current city employee, I'd voluntarily take a couple furlough days if it meant the difference between these guys being able to drive their cars home or not.

Conservative Man
5403
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Conservative Man 01/18/12 - 01:19 pm
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They've delayed budget

They've delayed budget cuts......but they DID vote to give the Mayor another $100,000. a year PR person.....What's wrong with THIS picture...

Little Lamb
45190
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Little Lamb 01/18/12 - 02:14 pm
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From the article: The Augusta

From the article:

The Augusta Commission delayed implementation of about $2.5 million in budget cuts set to end some youth recreation programs and eliminate 34 jobs. . . . During a three-hour meeting Tuesday, Mayor Deke Copenhaver broke a 5-5 tie to approve holding off making the cuts, which were needed to balance the 2012 budget already in process, until a Feb. 16-17 commission retreat.

What a profile in courage! Deke finally gets a vote and he votes to delay. My friends, we need to downsize our government and reduce government power over our lives and reduce government programs; but our commissioners and our mayor will not do it. Hard times are ahead for non-connected taxpayers; but boom times are ahead for government employees.

Little Lamb
45190
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Little Lamb 01/18/12 - 02:16 pm
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What kind of ridiculous

What kind of ridiculous statement is this? Susan McCord wrote:

City Administrator Fred Russell said he was “not uncomfortable” with looking at transferring $1.5 million from the city’s savings and an additional $1 million from projected new property tax revenue.

We Augusta citizens can all rest easy now that we know Fred is not uncomfortable.

dichotomy
31957
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dichotomy 01/18/12 - 02:26 pm
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"Visibility, which equals

"Visibility, which equals crime deterrence in the neighborhoods where they are parked."

That might have been the case in the past but now the little thugs just break into the cop cars too and steal the weapons.

raul
4511
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raul 01/18/12 - 09:19 pm
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Where is the retreat being

Where is the retreat being held?

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