ATLANTA - A bill to increase the salaries of six of Richmond County's elected officials is moving through the General Assembly.
The House this week approved the local legislation bumping up the county-funded pay for Augusta's district attorney, sheriff, State Court solicitor, Superior Court clerk, Superior Court judges and the chief judge for Superior Court.
House Bill 831 is an updated version of a measure introduced last year that included nearly a dozen more local salary changes. The revamped legislation now has to be signed off by Augusta's two senators to pass.
"To use a business terminology, this is the cost of doing business," said Rep. Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta, who is chairman of the county's legislative delegation. "We've got a major case load for a number of these judges and for the sheriff, and it's been quite a while since they received an increase in pay."
The Superior Court clerk's position would go from $75,000 to $90,000 in May and $97,000 next year - ultimately a 29 percent boost.
The sheriff would begin making $110,000 next year, up almost 18 percent from his annual pay now of $93,441.
Sheriff Strength said he did not contact the legislators to recommend a new amount but said it would be the first time the salary has been touched in years.
"I have never received an adjustment," he said. "That salary was set in 1998."
District Attorney Danny Craig, whose county-funded supplement would increase from $20,535 to $38,000 next year, said he supplied the lawmakers with the salaries of other Georgia district attorneys to make a comparison.
Although the Augusta circuit is the fifth-largest in the state in population, several smaller districts pay a larger supplement, which is added to the $100,000 the state pays each district attorney.
Sen. J.B. Powell, D-Blythe, said Tuesday that he has not seen the final version of the salary bill.
"I'm waiting to see it, and then I'll decide what I'm going to do on it," he said.
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