Commission to start budget workshops

Focus on sheriff, fire department and 911

Augusta begins the first of a series of weekly work sessions today on the 2014 budget.

While City Administrator Fred Russell said most departmental requests were flat and excluded non-essential services, Commissioner Donnie Smith said he and other new faces on the commission would like a closer look.

“I think what has happened in the past was we looked at how much money they had last year, and went from there,” he said. “We should look at putting more money into essential services – like maintenance of rights of way, retention ponds, stormwater systems – and less money in nonessential services.”

The first work session, scheduled for 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. today in the commission chamber, will focus on budget requests made by the sheriff’s office, fire department and 911.

Subsequent sessions have been scheduled for Sept. 19 and Sept. 26 will cover engineering, utilities, and environmental services, followed by the district attorney, public defender and Superior Court, respectively.

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