With the Nov. 21 deadline looming for a recommended budget, Augusta Commissioners held a budget workshop to discuss the current and future state of several items on the Budget
"Healthcare has gone up considerably. 5 million dollars over the past 4 years and come next year it's going to increase and the following year," says Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle.
Health Insurance tops the list and some Commissioners like Wayne Guilfoyle don't want to see this trend continuing to grow.
Since 2014 Richmond County has dished out $24 Million for healthcare for its employees and their spouses, $29 Million just for this year, and Guilfoyle fears next year the number can go beyond $30 Million. He sees several ways to cut that expense. "We have to look at to see if spouses would tie onto other spouses which would reduce our exposure and that's what we reduce our exposure and that's what we're trying to get to," says Guilfoyle.
Commissioners are also considering cutting the budget for Transit, Probation and even Streetlights. One Commissioner says he wants to make sure there's room for the continued growth in the C-S-R-A.
"We need bike paths or rent bikes and one of the things I mentioned today is we have to create synergy on our waters," says Commissioner Sean Frantom. He says he has several ideas that he's crossing his fingers could work its way into next year's budget. But City leaders will have the next couple of weeks to decide what to cut and what to do to the budget.
The City Administrator will bring the recommended Budget back to Commissioners on Nov. 21. Then the budget will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.