Originally created 12/01/05

$2.9 million budget gets board's OK

The Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center's newly approved $2.9 million budget for fiscal year 2005-06 includes $41,818 for full-time employees' pay raises and $300,000 designed to increase revenue at the downtown entertainment complex.

The civic center's governing board, the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority, approved the budget Tuesday at its monthly meeting.

The pay raises, ranging from a 2.7 percent increase to a near 15 percent increase for 16 employees, are already in effect, said civic center General Manager Larry Rogers.

Civic center workers were not included in the Augusta Commission's decision to give all city employees an 8 percent pay increase by January, the general manager said.

Mr. Rogers, who last summer withdrew his request for a 7 percent raise after getting criticism from the coliseum authority, did not receive a raise, nor did he ask for one, he said.

His annual salary will remain at $65,000, according to the budget.

Part-time civic center employees, some of whom had never received a raise in their years of employment, were given raises in February.

The proposed budget includes a projected $134,161 surplus, quite a surge from this year's projected deficit of $556,801.

Milton Simmons, the civic center's finance manager, said hurricane refugees living in Augusta helped boost the city's hotel, motel and beer tax revenue.

Mr. Simmons also said the inclusion of several consolidated income statements also helped add to the surplus.

New to the financial plan is a request by the coliseum authority's budget and finance committee to spend $300,000 to increase revenue at the civic center.

Mr. Rogers said he hopes to add events to the civic center's schedule to increase revenue.

Seven home games featuring the American Indoor Football League's Augusta Spartans were recently added to the center's schedule.

"We're hoping that will be a big shot in the arm for us," Mr. Rogers said.

The civic center's finance manager said he also hopes to sell advertising space on marquees at the Bell Auditorium and the civic center.

Reach Kate Lewis at (706) 823-3215 or kate.lewis@augustachronicle.com.

Civic center pay raises

Raises for full-time civic center employees include:

Percent increase New salary

General Manager Larry Rogers 0% $65,000

Finance/HR Manager Milton Simmons 12.5% $45,000

Box Office Manager Loretta Rau 3.6% $41,500

Lead Engineer Daniel Rhodes 7.8% $40,000

Operations Foreman James Brown 5.3% $22,880


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