Industry came out in force to oppose the excise tax, letting commissioners know IT could hurt expansion plans and cost jobs.
“The very nature of this tax attacking our manufacturers one of our largest economic sectors was really the issue here,” said Sue Parr of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce.
But for the Sheriff’s Office the issue was better pay for deputies because city leaders had planned to use some of the revenue from the excise tax for deputy raises.
“We continue to lose deputies to other agencies they give us about four or five d years they get a lot of great training and they go elsewhere where they can get a lot of money,” said Lieutenant Lewis Blanchard.
The first reading of the ordinance passed but after hearing from manufacturers commissioners unanimously voted to reject the excise tax.
“At the end of the day we didn’t want to put them in harm’s way so we took that all into consideration some of the things we’re going to have to look at,” said Commissioner Ben Hasan.
What commissioners are looking at is to still provide the deputy pay raises next year calling on the administrator as part of the motion to provide options for paying for them, without the excise tax.
“We’re going to have to find those funds there’s just no two ways about it were a consolidated government we came together in 96 as a consolidated government we have several areas that are bringing in revenue we have to look at this entire government to see how we can best serve the citizens.,” says Commissioner Alvin Mason.
The Sheriff says he’s confident commissioners will come through,
“It’s either cut somewhere or find more revenue it’s not a guarantee we asked the Sheriff Roundtree.
“Well like I say from my understanding they’ve been given directives to find the money from other resources and I’m confident they’re going to do that,” said Sheriff Richard Roundtree.
The energy sales tax exemption is being phased in so according to the latest numbers the city will lose two point six million dollars next year and another three and a half million in 2016
So how does the city make up that r loss while still proving more than a million dollars in pay raises, to the Sheriff’s office well that’s sure to be a topic of discussion at this Friday’s city budget retreat.