Dire conditions create budget concerns for Augusta

CSRA News

Augusta, Ga (WJBF) Augusta budget writers say the coronavirus has done a number of their anticipated revenues for 2021 how much of an impact. well it’s too the tune of more than 8 million dollars.  

 Augusta’s proposed budget needs help from the rainy-day fund.  

 “We’re looking at a class five hurricane you just don’t get wet I’m very concerned,” said Commissioner John Clarke.  

 Here’s the reason for concern the finance officials are anticipating a shortfall of 8 million dollars for next year. 

To offset that the recommendation is to use more than four million dollars out of reserves. 

“Typically, your reserves are there for reserves when you have opportunities like this of times when things are very dire where you really don’t have a lot of options that’s what they’re there for but customarily you don’t want to have to dip into your reserves to balance your budget,” said Interim Deputy Administrator Maurice McDowell.  

Some commissioners have proposed a five percent across the board cut for all departments.  

  “It’s easier said than done for sure I don’t think we’re going to get to five percent I just think that we could have worked on this a little bit better could have done a little bit more,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.  

 “A recommended across the board five percent cut, that’s not going to work it sounds good it’s not going to work,” said Clarke.  

 Some of the commissioners want us to take a second look at possibly doing some across the board cuts I think five percent would be more draconian that we would like to see,” said McDowell.  

 Budget writers though are happy to COVID relief money for public transit. 

The general fund has to subsidizes city bus service, but next year the plan is to use three point eight million dollars in CARES Act money instead of taking money for transit out of the general fund. 

 “There’s an option there for us to use those funds for that purpose,” said McDowell.  

 Now the administrator’s budget recommendations are down on paper however city leaders are ready to tear into them, that happens next week the city will be holding its first budget session on Tuesday, In Augusta George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6. 

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