AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – When it comes to the City of Augusta’s proposed budget for 2024, there’s lot of numbers to look at and that’s creating a lot of questions.
Commissioner Sean Frantom says he wants an explanation for every significant line item increase in the proposed budget. “We had many line-item departments that had $100,000 plus increases. Maybe some of them we supported and voted on last year… this year, I mean. But in the same respect, let’s understand why,” he said.
On big increase is for the I.T. department: a half-million dollars, including $285,000 to enhance cyber security. But that’s expense is easily understood.
“Cyber security – if you think what it just cost us to get out of this last ordeal – that’s a small change compared to how it shut the city down,” said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.
Back in May, commissioners approved operational audits of all city departments. $300,000 dollars is proposed in next year’s budget is proposed to do that.
“$300,000 – we felt a good starting point and once the procurement of the item has been completed, then the commission can decide if they want to move forward,” and Interim Administrator Takiyah Douse.
But that cost is causing some heartburn.
“I think it is – I mean, that’s a lot of money to spend on an audit the people wanted us to do more in that respect I think we did vote on something I don’t remember there was a price tag at the time and that does seem like a significant amount of money,” said Frantom.
Frantom says to relieve some pressures on the budget, he wants to increase employee contributions to health insurance next year. That’s just one of the issues on the table for city leaders to discuss at their first workshop for the 2024 budget.