AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF) Growing frustration as Augusta leaders try to find the right balance for the 2017 city budget.
‘We haven’t talked about any cuts it’s basically you all need to sign off on the budget and move on that’s what’s disappointing this whole process has been disappointing,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.
The city budget is balanced thanks in large part to a 700 thousand dollar cut to what Gold Cross gets for the ambulance service
There’s opposition to that, but no discussion on how the budget will be balanced if the cut is restored.
“That’s a huge part of this budget 700 thousand dollars we’ve been told discussions are in place so we should know those numbers soon there’s definitely going to have to be some heavy discussions some compromises and big decisions where we are moving,” says Commissioner Mary Davis.
One of the budget items on the move is city health care costs up three million and a half million dollars.
That has Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle asking why the Administrators budget is moving, pointing out that in 2014 the administrators office expenses were 730 thousand dollars but the request in this year’s budget is for over one million dollars.
With the administrator adding a Projects Manager and PIO.
“We were fixing to have to face this challenge why are we hiring people when we could have used that money to offset our health care costs,” said Guilfoyle.
The Administrator responding she did not create new jobs just filled vacant positions.
“And those positions are there to serve the needs of the citizens of Richmond County and ensure our finances are managed well and to make sure our public gets information in an accurate and timely fashion,” said Administrator Janice Jackson.
Despite the apparent lack of progress at today’s budget session Mayor Davis said commissioners will vote on the budget as schedule November 15th. There’s another workshop scheduled for the 10th.