Augusta Commissioners Ponder Layoffs For Pay Raises - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Augusta Commissioners Ponder Layoffs For Pay Raises

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Augusta, GA -

Augusta City workers would welcome it, and many commissioners support it, a 15 hundred dollar pay raise for employees.

"The everyday worker is really catching it and we need to do something for those people so I'm going to try my best to work as hard as I can to make sure they do get a raise," says Commissioner Marion Williams.

Commissioner Donnie Smith also wants to see raises, but not across the board, he says those on the lower end of the pay scale should get a 15 hundred dollar increase, but  raises should be smaller the more workers earn.

"Certainly a much smaller amount, towards the top of the pay scale, and in some of the scenarios  I could see the top senior management don't get a raise at all," says Smith.

Any raises would cost money; the city budget is showing a projected eight million dollar shortfall.

Department heads are presenting commissioners with lists of cuts at five and ten percent levels, which would impact city services.

"If you are looking at those level of cuts unfortunately there are services we won't provide and it's up to the commission to tells us what they're going to be if that's the direction go in, says City Administrator Fred Russell.

"And if you're not providing services do you need those people?"

"Well I don't want to jump up and down and make people nervous that's an obvious statement," says Russell referring to possible layoffs.

 So what city leaders could be facing is giving some workers raises while others could be laid off.

"I  think we can find a way to do it without laying people off if you're going to lay people off it's kind of senseless to lay people off and five other folks raises," says Commissioner Williams.

Donnie Smith says no layoffs for public safety or public works employees but everything else is on the table. 

 "Nonessential department than certainly I don't mind looking at cuts," says Smith'

You wouldn't mind layoffs in certain departments to get the money for the raises?

"Correct," says Smith.

A tax increase remains a possible option however Mayor Pro-Tem Corey Johnson says it will be hard to support a property tax increase with commissioners likely to approve a storm water utility fee early next year.

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