AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Augusta city leaders are working hard to finalize next year's budget at the first of many work sessions on Tuesday.
As the first workshop wrapped up for Augusta-Richmond County, Commissioners are scratching their heads on what to do with healthcare?
A nearly $1.2 million dollars was proposed that will cover the expansion and operating costs for the city's wellness program. "It's hard to wrap your brain around that. I think an increase of $400,000 or $500,000 when we're looking for $2.8 million for the sheriff's and $8 million for the employees, that's tough."
What's being proposed now for city employees is a 5% increase if you opt into the program which will cost nearly $200 a year. But if someone doesn't opt in, expect a 15% raise nearly doubling that.
But leaders chose to come back later this week when they get more hard-core numbers like how many workers actually use the program. "We need the exact numbers to see what those will look like to our employees because as you know we are considering a raise and we want to make sure the raise isn't taken away by the increase in healthcare," says Commissioner Ben Hassan.
But as the November 1st deadline is just next week to have this finished, City leaders will have to come to an agreement on what to vote. Commissioner Hassan says he's in favor of the increases in the wellness program as an incentive for employees to opt in. "I think it's something worth doing. They say an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure so that's the road we want to travel," he says,
If approved next week, this will be the first time since 2012 City Workers will have to pay more for healthcare.
Friday's Meeting will take place at 10am at the municipal building.