Audit: Augusta went over budget by $3 million in 2012 - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Audit: Augusta went over budget by $3 million in 2012

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

Augusta went over budget about $3 million dollars in 2012, according to an audit. Even though that may look bad on paper, city leaders say they're pleased.

"In this economy with the lack of cuts, with the lack of service reductions we're very happy with that," said city administrator Fred Russell.

He says they had to dip into their reserve fund to cover the extra $3 million. The chairman of the finance committee Wayne Guilfoyle says that means taxpayers didn't pay the difference.

"We didn't raise taxes, we were able to lower them a smidgeon," Guilfoyle, said.

He says they were pushed over budget by several unexpected expenses.

"Half of it was used to cover a lawsuit that has been ongoing for five or six years and we had to pay $344,000 back to the federal government," he said.

Russell says once they realized they could go over budget they looked for ways to keep it from happening.

"We recommended some cuts and the Commission said ‘no we want you to tighten your belt, we want you to save that money other ways,'" said Russell.

The audit also found that the city didn't report grant money they awarded to local government programs. Guilfoyle says it's a problem they're working to fix but he also points to the problem as a sign improvement.

"On the audit that we had last year there was something like four or five items that we had trouble with. We went from five to one, that's pretty good," Guilfoyle, said.

He believes the city is in good shape for the 2013 fiscal year because they have $27 million in their reserve fund and an excellent bond rating.

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