Augusta Chief Appraiser Alveno Ross moves into the top 10 in city salaries under a new contract approved by the Richmond County Board of Assessors.
The 26 percent increase, which brings Ross’ salary to $135,000, comes as the board awaits the outcome of a criminal indictment and civil litigation involving a Macon organization, the Central Georgia Partnership for Individual and Community Development, over which Ross serves as president.
Ross, a former Macon councilman, was not named in the indictment or civil suit, which involves allegations of bribery and money-laundering orchestrated by former Bibb County schools Superintendent Romain Dallemand. Ross previously told The Augusta Chronicle he took over the partnership after the death of founding chairman Jimmie Samuel in 2013 at the request of Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert.
Assessors board chairman Bill Lee said Monday the charges and suit are “moot until we hear what the court says.”
Lee said after the Augusta Commission raised issues with Ross’ performance in 2016, a “360-evaluation” performed by Ross’ peers “went very well.”
Lee said the issues raised by the commission, including addressing a set of taxable properties that were improperly deemed tax-exempt, and personnel issues in the department “were all taken care of” ahead of the commission’s deadline.
On Monday the board reviewed one of those taxable parcels, the Trinity Manor apartment complex, which was left off the tax rolls for years. Made taxable, it was assigned a value of $3.2 million, which was later decreased to $1.9 million after two buildings burned. Recently the complex sold for about $1 million, according to a report Ross gave.
Lee said the board set Ross’ salary based on those paid in Georgia counties with a similar number of parcels, such as Bibb, Chatham and Muscogee.
The commission’s 2016 concerns led the assessors’ board to not implement a planned raise, so Ross hadn’t had a pay increase since 2014, Lee said.
Ross was hired in 2011 at a salary of $88,438. In 2014, the board increased his pay to $104,075.
Ross’ new contract is for three years and includes an additional car allowance of $6,000 and deferred compensation of $6,000 each year.
Lee said the board needed to keep Ross in Augusta as the city develops with the arrival of Cyber Command at Fort Gordon and related industries.
“We are going to be busy here,” he said.