AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – At this week’s budget work session, Augusta city leaders agreed to an increased $500,000 in the city’s budget… not the direction commissioner Sean Frantom wanted to go.
“Everybody’s hurting across this country. Inflation. Things of that nature. The city of Augusta seems to never want to talk about cuts. We’re going to talk about cuts and hopefully we’re going to get something done,” said Commissioner Frantom.
Commissioner Frantom is proposing a motion for Tuesday’s meeting for an across-the-board 2% cut for all city departments and then put those funds aside for departments to request if there is a shortfall later in the year.
“If needed, they can come back and get the money instead of just going ahead and giving them the money at the beginning of the year,” said Frantom.
But a 2% cut would be $4 million for the general fund alone.
“If we start just unilaterally cutting, we just don’t know what and how that would impact what we already got on the table,” said Commissioner Francine Scott.
Other commissioners say next year’s budget can be amended if cuts are needed.
“What we need to do is approve the budget and in the motion to approve the budget, look at it in about 6 months; sometime around July,” said Commissioner Bobby Williams.
“We won’t pull anything back that way you know that once this is done it’s done,” said Frantom.
But the work on the 2024 budget is almost done, and this motion could be a wrench in that.
“The Commission is divided on whether we want to move forward or we want to cut. I haven’t seen any cuts, so I’m going to put this on the agenda and we’re going to hash this out,” said Frantom.
Passing the city budget next week is not cut and dried.