Originally created 08/08/03

Across Georgia



Revenue collections see decline in July

ATLANTA -The first month of the new budget year brought little encouraging news for Gov. Sonny Perdue, who already has begun looking for additional spending cuts to keep the state in the black.

A report released Thursday showed state tax collections for July, the first month of the new fiscal year, were down $47.2 million, or 5.4 percent, compared with the same month last year.

After struggling with an economic downturn for two straight years and trimming millions of dollars in spending, the state ended the previous budget year June 30 with a $160 million deficit. This week, Mr. Perdue ordered state departments to identify additional spending cuts of 2.5 percent to help him balance the books.

Donations, adoptions save animal shelter

HINESVILLE -Things looked bleak last month for the Liberty County Humane Shelter and the 40 animals that lived there.

The cash-strapped shelter, which was on the brink of closing and euthanizing all the animals, put out an emergency plea for $5,000.

Once the shelter's plight became known, people came to the rescue - adopting animals and donating $26,000, which will keep the facility open through the end of the year.

Children turned over their allowances and sold lemonade at roadside stands, and checks arrived from as far away as Virginia and Florida.

Worker dies during cleanup of rail car

FITZGERALD -A worker died while cleaning out a rail car in the south Georgia town of Fitzgerald on Wednesday, and three paramedics who treated him were hospitalized.

The worker, who was not immediately identified, had just started working on the car at Fitzgerald Railyard that had transported molten sulfur when he collapsed.

The three paramedics started feeling sick and were taken to a hospital for observation.

Ill inmates could get released from prison

ATLANTA -State officials are considering releasing sick prison inmates whose medical bills can become a burden to taxpayers.

With a prison population of 47,000 and faced with budget cuts, the Department of Corrections and the Board of Pardons and Paroles are working on ways to remove some inmates - particularly nonviolent offenders.

Severely ill inmates, such as those with AIDS or terminal cancer, create a large financial drain.