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City budget has $8.5 million hole

Russell asks for budget cuts to make up the funding

Friday, Oct. 18, 2013 8:21 PM
Last updated Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 1:51 AM
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A proposed budget by City Ad­min­istrator Fred Russell closes no facilities, cuts no services, eliminates no positions and even gives all employees an across-the-board $1,500 pay increase.

However, the $683.7 million proposal comes up $8.5 million short on revenue.

To make up the shortfall, Russell is asking department heads to find ways to further cut their budgets.

Commissioners, who do not have any scheduled meetings in the next week, have until Nov. 19 to reach an agreement on cuts to balance the budget.

Georgia requires county budgets be balanced.

Russell has rejected dozens of departmental requests for new personnel, including 35 positions sought by the Engineering Department, which maintains city roads and rights of way, and a new 18-member tree department to maintain the city’s trees.

Instead, he approved the creation of 30 positions: a procurement compliance officer, four district attorney personnel, six assistant public defenders, a gas system technician for waste management, three transit employees and 15 part- and full-time airport personnel.

Russell said he opted for an across-the-board pay increase over the numerous departmental requests for staff increases, many funded by eliminating vacant positions, because it was simpler than implementing performance-based increases citywide.

The proposal included a surprise for most commissioners: six new staff members for Augusta Municipal Golf Course, whose management will soon be put out for bids for a third time after efforts to secure a private management firm or partner with The First Tee of Augusta failed.

Russell said he included money for “The Patch” in case the bid process fails again.

If the commission votes to privatize the course, “here’s that money,” he said.

Other potential targets for cuts in the proposal might be the $300,000 allotted for Mayor Deke Copenhaver’s Augusta Regional Collabo­ra­tion Project; $675,000 for a new study of disparities in the city’s award of contracts to women and minorities, which will eventually be needed to re-implement a race- or gender-conscious program; and $1.1 million to further renovate the former Regional Youth Detention Center for the sheriff’s office.

Commissioner Donnie Smith said outsourcing the Patch and not adding the new golf positions was a no-brainer, but he and several other commissioners said they’d take the weekend and the coming week to study the document further.

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countyman
21242
Points
countyman 10/19/13 - 12:21 pm
1
2
Growth in RC

The new commercial developments clearly prove nobody from Richmond County is moving to Columbia County.. People also don't seem to believe their are people similar to me who moved from Columbia to Richmond in the past.

I also think it's hilarious that people bringing up raising taxes, but CC/AC already had the rain tax.

What does the county being majority black have to do with the disparity study?

The county is still very much ran by older white males similar to both Aiken and Columbia.

Riverman1
90130
Points
Riverman1 10/19/13 - 05:11 pm
0
1
Maybe Try Hancock County?

Richmond County is majority black residents is the point I think the commenter was making. If you think older white males run the county and that upsets you, maybe you could try Hancock County?

Riverman1
90130
Points
Riverman1 10/19/13 - 05:15 pm
0
1
Commercial developments don't equal residents

Commercial developments don't equal residents. Even the Antione should know that. Columbia County is one of the fastest growing counties in the NATION. Richmond County is not growing. But you have to take the CSRA as a whole. There's nothing wrong with the people living in Columbia and Aiken Counties while the industry is in Richmond County. There can also be businesses to catch the commuters on the way home who want to stop for a bite to eat, etc.

Gage Creed
18736
Points
Gage Creed 10/19/13 - 05:51 pm
1
0
"The new commercial

"The new commercial developments clearly prove nobody from Richmond County is moving to Columbia County.."

Nobody?

Seriously?

countyman
21242
Points
countyman 10/19/13 - 06:01 pm
1
1
Fact not opinion

According to the 2012 census estimate both Richmond and Aiken counties gained around the same number of people.

Commercial developments are the result of population growth.

Gage Creed
18736
Points
Gage Creed 10/19/13 - 06:27 pm
0
0
Oblivious to Facts

And where did Columbia County rank in growth? No need to answer... I've already washed clothes and don't need the spin.

Bizkit
34147
Points
Bizkit 10/19/13 - 07:03 pm
1
0
8.5 million dollar hole. No

8.5 million dollar hole. No problem in fact spend some more because deficit spending is a sure way to cut the deficit in half. So there ya go got rid of half already-now just 4.25 million left. Progressive logic and economics. So now a 4.5 million dollar hole but you can patch a hole. It takes an 8.5 million dollar patch to patch the 4.5 million dollar hole. So we spend 17 million to cut it in half to 4.5 million and then patch it for 8.5 million. So for a mere 25.5 million dollars a Dem progressive plan would solve the problem of the 8.5 million dollar hole and cut the deficit in half. Wow is that something or what.

Gage Creed
18736
Points
Gage Creed 10/19/13 - 08:06 pm
1
0
@ Bizkit... I think I have

@ Bizkit... I think I have located my wife's financial adviser....

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