Regarding the Augusta Commission's approval of the 2011 budget, one issue concerns me greatly. I feel that cutting the sheriff's office budget by $750,000, while we are on pace to top last year's crime rate, is counterintuitive and counterproductive.
I have two suggestions for city leaders.
How about a moratorium on so-called "studies?" These studies do nothing to enrich the city. They only enrich those who present them. The recent Augusta Sustainable Development Agenda is a case in point. This was a waste of $500,000. This would be a great plan 20 years from now. But today, Richmond County has more immediate needs that have absolutely nothing to do with "tourist corridors" and more "green spaces." Let's make the city safe first.
Second, let's get a pledge from city leaders not to waste money on frivolous lawsuits on businesses that are unseemly yet constitutional -- namely the $800,000 frittered away on the X-Mart controversy.
These two actions alone cost the city $1.4 million. That's twice what city leaders have agreed to cut from the sheriff's budget. Reminding everyone that we are on pace to top last year's crime rate, I'm now led to believe that, because of previous mismanagement, we are now supposed to believe these same city leaders have it all figured out? Give me a break!