This isn't a problem. It's an opportunity for a creative solution.
- Michael Douglas
There was discouraging news on the city budget last week. Augusta appears to be spending more than it's taking in, leaving some of us to wonder: What's a consolidated metropolis to do? Well, as usual, I have a few ideas. For instance:
Julian Smith Casino Nights: Charities do this sort of thing all the time, so why not government? Poker, roulette and blackjack for a good cause.
Naming rights: Like most cities, Augusta has a lot of things sitting around - roads, bridges, buildings, civic centers, parks, assorted benches, parking lots ... and even city vehicles. Why not offer to rename them for an appropriate fee? That fee could be set at a minimum and go to the highest bidder. If a higher bidder comes along, they get the naming rights. (But let the previous bidder keep the old signs.) And if people don't pay their bids in full, we'll let them spend a few nights in the (YOUR NAME HERE) Memorial Jail, where the inmates spend their spare time jogging on treadmills to generate electricity.
Lottery partnerships: Don't give raises - give Georgia lottery tickets. And give them with the understanding that if the loyal employee wins, then half the money goes back to the city treasury.
Masters Month: Look at it this way: We took one day in December - Christmas Day - and turned it into a six-week economic bonanza. Why not figure a way to stretch out Masters Week?
Reduce city management: We don't need more chiefs. We need more Indians. And while we're at it, why not cut the number of members of the Augusta Commission to five? Just give them bigger districts.
Drill for oil: It's a stretch, but you never know. As most of you have noticed, the price of oil is really, really high these days. Now some might say the chances of striking oil in Augusta are remote, but I say they're no more unlikely than trying to balance a city budget without making difficult, responsible choices.