City Administrator presents options for balancing budget

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009 3:53 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 11:38 PM
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City Administrator Fred Russell has presented the Augusta Commission with an option that balances the 2010 without a tax increase.

The plan involves $4.3 million in expenditure reductions, including $500,000 from the sheriff's office and $500,000 in prisoner costs due to a decrease in prison population. The Recreation department would no longer fund First Friday events to save $25,000.

The option also includes furloughing all city employees - including elected officials - for four days in September, October, November and December for a savings of $814,000.

Mr. Russell also wants the commission to look into privatizing the Augusta Municipal Golf Course, and his new plan only provides funding for "the Patch" for six months at $155,200.

Mr. Russell also advised commissioners to continue pursuing an eighth-penny Municipal Option Sales Tax, or MOST, which if enacted quickly could generate $9 million next year and plug the 2010 budget's original $8.6 million shortfall.

His new option, however, balances the budget even without a new sales tax.

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jack
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jack 11/17/09 - 05:12 pm
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8 cents sales tax? I'll keep

8 cents sales tax? I'll keep my shopping i N Augusta.

steelermoose1
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steelermoose1 11/17/09 - 05:27 pm
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he must be out of his f'in

he must be out of his f'in mind!! The law enforcement should be the only thing not affected by these cuts. Make it even more difficult for RCSO to do their jobs?? That is a bad idea.

imho1
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imho1 11/17/09 - 05:47 pm
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All of the cuts sound good to

All of the cuts sound good to me. My only change would be to permanently lay off enough county workers to equal the furlough savings. RC is grossly overstaffed.

jericojones
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jericojones 11/17/09 - 07:53 pm
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Fred, knock another hole in

Fred, knock another hole in the boat with the 8% tax. Try reducing the commish's travel budget, cell phone budget, and gas budget---get back to me with the savings. Oh, I forgot, re-write bedden's contract and privatize the transit system-----then get back to me!

gargoyle
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gargoyle 11/17/09 - 08:04 pm
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Boilerplate Fred Russell

Boilerplate Fred Russell proposal ... Scare up more money by calling for cuts in police protection ... And this time He's going to turn loose the prison population ...

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/17/09 - 09:00 pm
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I think you guys want to

I think you guys want to shoot the messenger.

Taylor B
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Taylor B 11/17/09 - 11:13 pm
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Wow, raising the sales tax

Wow, raising the sales tax isn't a tax increase? Now we are cutting police protection, the only thing government is SUPPOSED to provide. Privatize trash pick up, the transit system, and all vehicle maintenance, install parking meters down town, convert prison time to community service in victimless, non violent offenses.... it isn't that hard, its just that raising taxes is easier. VOTE LIBERTARIAN

KSManning
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KSManning 11/17/09 - 11:29 pm
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jericojones, Mr. Russell has

jericojones, Mr. Russell has nothing to do with Dr. Bedden's contract. The board of education does not fall under the city government, the commission, or Mr. Russell. And gargoyle, he said nothing about turning loose the prison population. The prison population has already been reduce therefore the funds for prisoner upkeep/expenses is not necessary. As far as the less than $500/month cellphone budget (fyi, that's not an estimated number but a factual number based on previous open records reports received and print by The Augusta Chronicle) and other commission budgets, they are but a drop in the bucket. The majority of budget comes from salary heavy departments such as RCSO, Fire, etc. The 8% tax sounds pretty good to me since seriously who is going to travel across town to Columbia County or over to North Augusta from Augusta for what basically amounts to pennies on the dollar. ($10 spent = 10 cents difference; $100 spent = $1 difference; $1,000 = $10 difference). With todays gas prices, I'd much rather pay the extra 1% than to waste my gas, time, and wear on my car. Seriously, how many people went to No. Augusta for everyday purchases back when they were 6% and we were 7%?

gargoyle
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gargoyle 11/18/09 - 01:09 am
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The point of my post Mr.

The point of my post Mr. Manning was that protection services and infrastructure should be the last items on the chopping block ... At what point does the small 1% increase become the straw that breaks the camels back ... A tight ship is what the ideal should be and leaks abound concerning the expenditure of public funds ....The curent economy gives pause to anything but belt tightening .

jericojones
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jericojones 11/18/09 - 09:32 am
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Manning, UH the schools are

Manning, UH the schools are not funded by COUNTY taxes??? Tell me again what planet you live on?

KSManning
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KSManning 11/18/09 - 01:12 pm
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Its called planet Earth,

Its called planet Earth, jericojones. Why where are you from? The largest portion of the COUNTY taxes collected goes to the Board of Education (listed as 'school tax' on your tax bill) which as I said has nothing to do with Mr. Russell, the commission, etc. A separate SMALLER portion goes to local government which funds the county services, fire department, police department and are under the direction of the commission, Mr. Russell, etc. Note: A portion of your tax bill received each year also goes to the state...which Mr. Russell, the commission, etc. also have not control over....other than they MUST collect it. While the school board and the state have both increased taxes over the last few years, the millage rate collected by the local government has not increased their millage rate since 2006. Unfortunately, they tend to get blamed for ALL the increases. To me, four years of no increase (since we won't have a tax increase again in 2010) is doing quite well on 'belt-tightening'. I don't believe I can say that anything else (gas, food, insurance, etc) has stayed the same cost for the last 4 years.

jericojones
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jericojones 11/18/09 - 01:59 pm
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Manning, who sets the tax

Manning, who sets the tax rate--The board of education or the county commissioners? You rest your case! Who designates the % to each agency?? Who is the "County" Administrator? When you figure all that out, get back with me.

KSManning
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KSManning 11/18/09 - 02:56 pm
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Lets try this again for those

Lets try this again for those who need remedial assistance. The board of education and the county commission are TWO SEPARATE ENTITIES. The Board of Education sets the tax rate for the school system while the County Commission sets the tax rate for the local government. The state legislation designates where each penny of the 7% sales tax that gets allocated to each agency (state government, local government, and schools)...this is for ALL Counties in Georgia not just Richmond County. The Administrator reports to the Mayor and Augusta-Richmond County Commission. The Richmond County Board of Education is responsible for school programs and operations by law, but it delegates some portion of that authority to the Superintendent (Dr. Bedden). The board is governed by a President and a Vice-President who are elected by and from the board membership every two years on the Saturday preceding the second Thursday in January. You may recall during elections we have elections for the School Board and the Commission. Reason why? Two SEPARATE entities.

jericojones
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jericojones 11/18/09 - 08:00 pm
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ks, we also have an election

ks, we also have an election for sheriff!

KSManning
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KSManning 11/18/09 - 08:17 pm
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Wow, couldn't come back with

Wow, couldn't come back with something better? ROFL

gargoyle
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gargoyle 11/18/09 - 08:41 pm
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Mr Manning please explane how

Mr Manning please explane how the recent property reassesment didn't add monies to the county coffers ... I may not be the sharpest knife in the bin but I know how much my taxes have increased

KSManning
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KSManning 11/18/09 - 11:34 pm
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The simple answer...looks

The simple answer...looks like you were in the 10% of home owners whose home value increased. http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/09/02/met_546608.shtml

gargoyle
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gargoyle 11/19/09 - 12:57 am
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Mr Manning you are correct my

Mr Manning you are correct my memory failed me ... Has i said I'm not a smart person , please fogive me for misspeaking ... After compairing tax stubs from years past the tax has not increased but the overall bill has .... The devil is in the details, the overall cost of the line items and deductions added up to more money owed ... The net effect to my wallet was I had to do with less and the goverment got more.

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