Is Augusta Paying Too Much For Municipal Building Security - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Is Augusta Paying Too Much For Municipal Building Security

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Paul Dahdah came to the Municipal Building to pay his taxes he doesn't see the need any more to pass through metal detectors   and a crew of Marshal's office security.

"I think it should absolutely be done away with, because you're right the courts the biggest problem would be the courts what else would they come in here for," he said.

Security doesn't come cheap; the Marshal's office budget for the Municipal Building is a half a million dollars.

The security equipment and deputy marshals first started screening visitors in 2002, in the wake of 911.

State law requires security at courthouses but the courts left the Municipal Building two years ago and some commissioner feel a full security presence is no longer needed at the Municipal Building.

"Is it a necessity, that is where we have to draw the line is it a want or a need," says Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.

 "What do you think it is?"

"I think it's more of a want right now," said Guilfoyle.

"In my mind and my professional opinion, I still think we need security at this building, I think that we have isolated incidents that still require security," says Marshal Steve Smith, who says the 540 thousand figures includes security at the library, where the office is reimbursed and providing security at the Aquatics Center.

City Administrator Fred Russell heard the call for a security cut back at the Municipal Building, and though he's recommending a tax increase to balance the budget, he's not recommending a decrease in security at the Municipal Building.

Let me suggest to you that if I recommended that and the day after they left someone came in her with a gun I would have a little trouble dealing with that personally I'm not ready to make that decision," says Russell.

You can't stop somebody if they really want to do something," says Guilfoyle.

So what price is security?

"Well we might as well secure everything then and not even worry about controlling this budget at that thinking," says Guilfoyle.

Guilfoyle is not for doing away with all marshals at the building but he would like to see the budget cut to about $100,000 dollars and have two officers patrolling at the building.  

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