Originally created 11/19/96

Consolidation benefits



Finally, after 10 1/2 months under the new consolidated government, Augusta-Richmond County taxpayers got some good news. The financial picture is brightening.

In fact, says Comptroller Butch McKie, the municipality is flush. He had earlier indicated the Augusta Commission might have to raise taxes 50 percent to staff and operate the Phinizy Road jail.

But his latest report shows that $7 million in higher utilities' franchise fees - made possible by consolidation - should cover the jail costs. Budget cuts and more-than-anticipated tax revenues also negate any need for a tax hike.

It's heartening to see that some of the benefits expected from unifying the government are starting to pay off.