Board adopts budget for '08

Augusta commissioners adopted a 2008 general-fund budget Thursday on a 6-4 vote. You have questions? We have answers.

Q: What is Augusta's 2008 general-fund budget going to cost me?

A: It will cost the owner of a $100,000 house less than a hamburger, french fries and a large drink once a month at a fast-food restaurant, according to City Administrator Fred Russell. It breaks down to $55.48 if you own a $100,000 house and have homestead exemption.

Q: What's in the budget?

A: The $125.4 million spending plan funds government operations, such as law enforcement, fire protection and recreation. Specifics include:

- 3 percent cost-of-living raises for employees

- $2,000-a-year raises for public safety officers

- Increased cost of health insurance for employees

- A program to find businesses that aren't paying property taxes

- A demolition program for code enforcement

- A supplement for Community Medical Outreach

- A disparity study

- $800,000 for city transit

- A $12,000 increase for the Ezekiel Harris House

- A $9,908 increase for CSRA Land Trust

Q: How did they vote?

A: The budget passed on one vote during Thursday's meeting, which had been recessed since Nov. 20 because Mr. Russell could not muster six votes for any of his budget options.

Voting for the budget were:

- Mayor Pro Tem Betty Beard

- Marion Williams

- J.R. Hatney

- Andy Cheek

- Calvin Holland

- Bernard Harper

Voting against the budget were:

- Jerry Brigham

- Jimmy Smith

- Joe Bowles

- Don Grantham

-- Sylvia Cooper, staff writer