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Salaries cut into Hyde Park relocation funds

20 percent of relocation funds

Sunday, March 11, 2012 3:10 PM
Last updated 9:23 PM
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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.

MAP AND DATABASE

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.

Comments (12) Add comment
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scott-hudson
10
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scott-hudson 03/11/12 - 05:20 pm
2
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Kudos to you Susan, you got

Kudos to you Susan, you got me by a day...But it isn't about the scoop anymore is it? It's about getting the info out there. I am very glad to see you are following this story...And now, down the rabbit hole you go.

willie7
955
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willie7 03/11/12 - 07:00 pm
1
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I think I will go into the
Unpublished

I think I will go into the cab business during Masters week.

Retired Army
17512
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Retired Army 03/11/12 - 08:12 pm
2
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Question. Since it is obvious

Question. Since it is obvious from this article that the city fathers were in the dark about these jobs, were the jobs themselves posted for all citizens to compete for or were thay doled out in good ol' boy patronage?

Not accusing, just asking.

Sweet son
10363
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Sweet son 03/11/12 - 08:21 pm
1
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Hyde Park administrative

Hyde Park administrative costs seem too high. This article talks about at least 4.5 employees added to the county payroll when we can't even pay the ones we have. Hyde Park personnel; too many!! Fire department pay disparity; hiring someone just dumb! Come on guys we don't need anymore employees except maybe in the public safety areas! Give us a break!

Riverman1
83711
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Riverman1 03/12/12 - 08:32 am
0
0
I still think Joe Jackson is

I still think Joe Jackson is getting free helicopter rides.

Little Lamb
45869
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Little Lamb 03/12/12 - 08:45 am
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Twenty hours a week in

Twenty hours a week in overtime can really augment one's salary.

Little Lamb
45869
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Little Lamb 03/12/12 - 08:46 am
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I thought I read in the last

I thought I read in the last Hyde Park article that the city was still seeking federal funding for the relocation. Now it looks like they will just take the money from the general city fund and city taxpayers will just have to suck it up.

Little Lamb
45869
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Little Lamb 03/12/12 - 08:57 am
0
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Susan McCord wrote: The area

Susan McCord wrote:

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.

If my memory serves me correctly, the "nearby factory" was a plant that produced treated wood, like a creosote plant. And regarding the junkyard, there have been allegations that the junkyard was the source of some low-level lead concentrations in the soil around Hyde Park, but there is no scientific proof of the source. Lead is lead, and it is ubiquitous in our environment. The most likely source is lead-based paint from the houses.

And there is absolutely no evidence of groundwater contamination from the junkyard.

allhans
23619
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allhans 03/12/12 - 09:23 am
1
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How about those who bought

How about those who bought property in the area with full knowledge of what they were buying. Will they get a reimbursement? I assume that is the reason they made the purchase.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 03/12/12 - 09:24 am
0
0
detention pond. I like it.

detention pond. I like it.

SAPCS
35
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SAPCS 03/12/12 - 10:33 am
0
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It's been a VERY BAD POND!!

It's been a VERY BAD POND!!

bubbasauce
20603
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bubbasauce 03/12/12 - 12:45 pm
0
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Way to go Augusta, robbing

Way to go Augusta, robbing Peter to pay Paul....again!

Riverman1
83711
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Riverman1 03/12/12 - 01:56 pm
0
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David, yeah, that detention

David, yeah, that detention pond thing catches my attention, too. I heard the other day it is accurate, though. So what's a retention pond is my question?

I looked this up and it seems backwards to me. A retention pond always keeps some water. A detention pond drains completely.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 03/12/12 - 02:02 pm
0
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i do hope that the owners of

i do hope that the owners of parcels with houses on them (residents) will get a good deal more than what is currently allotted to them... as it stands $1.9 million / 350 owners = $5,428 each. Now I know the money won't be doled out exactly like that. The appraisers must take into account the cost of buying a similar home for longtime (or lifetime) residents... Otherwise this will turn ugly for Augusta's image.

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