Augusta budget still needs work as approval deadline nears

Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic
Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic

AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF) City leaders finished their final budget work session with work still to do

“There’s still got to be a lot of discussion and yes   we’re going to have to go back the basics to look at where we can cut some areas,” says Commissioner Mary Davis.

The main concerns are the proposal to increase business license fee’s 10 percent.

A 700 thousand dollar cut in the city subsidy to Gold Cross for ambulance service,

And a 5 percent hike in garbage rates.

“I don’t think there’s anybody on that floor that will recommend an increase everybody is vocal about it,” says Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.

“We have put a whole lot on the taxpayers of Richmond County and it’s not fair to add any more,” said Commissioner Bill Fennoy.

But doing away with the trash rate hike, business license fees, and ambulance cut would force budget writers to find two million dollars in other cuts or new fees.

“They believe the things that we chose are not necessarily palatable anything else we come up with is not going to be very palatable either,” said City Administrator Janice Jackson.

The budget is scheduled to be approved November 15th and the mayor insists the differences will be worked out in time.

‘Absolutely yes absolutely we will not leave this building until we vote on the budget,” said Mayor Hardie Davis.

“Tuesday?”

“Tuesday,” Mayor Davis said.

“I haven’t seen anything to approve yet I can’t vote on what they’re proposing,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

“If I had to vote on it right now my vote would be no,” said Commissioner Guilfoyle.

“Can you vote on this Tuesday?”

“No, no, not even close, said Commissioner Bill Fennoy with a laugh.

“Not even close,” he said.

There are other cuts city leaders are looking at putting back in the budget including a  150 thousand dollar reduction for the heath board and a ten thousand dollar cut for the alliance for Fort Gordon, again if those are reinstated  that’s ‘ more work for budget writers  to find other cuts or new fees to keep the budget in balance,

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