Paying covid costs divides Augusta leaders


Augusta,Ga (WJBF) City finance officials say combating the coronavirus has taken a big bite out of the city budget.

It cost the city general fund 400 thousand dollars for protection equipment, and another 400 thousand in hazard pay, and that’s just for the past six week.,

“It remains to be seen what the rest of the year will bare out what we will have to purchase how many sneeze guards we will have to put in place and what we will need to do as people return to work,” said Finance Director Donna Williams.

The plan is to open city offices May 11 Th, so more dollars are going to be spent.

So the request is to take 2 million dollars out of general funds reserves to handle the current expenses and also what’s coming down the road, but some are raising concerns

“So why would we go up to two million when we’ve only spent 800 that’s a lot of money most of this is salaries with hazard pay and we’ve already ended that,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Sean Frantom.

City administrators saying they are just being proactive

“So we wanted to have a designated funding source for covid related expenditures that was the purpose of this request,” says Interim City Administrator Jarvis Sims.

Two motions, one to approve the two million, and one to one approve one point four million both failed.

Commissioners know they will need to spend money in the future but some say they will also need to look at cutting expenses

“I would recommend we ask the administrator to come back with recommendations to cut our budget the rest of 2020 including the cola pay that was suppose to be effective July First that would save us about six hundred thousand right there,” said Frantom.

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