Augusta Mayor calls for each department to demonstrate cuts in anticipation of 'challenges' in 2024 budget
Mayor Garnett Johnson is asking each department within the Augusta-Richmond County government to provide a model of what their budgets would look like if cut by 5-10%.
The mayor says his own office is not excluded. He is asking for proposals to include general fund and expenditure funding accounts. Johnson acknowledges there are "huge challenges" as city staff is evaluating next year's budget. He adds this request for city departments to demonstrate cost-saving strategies will show tax payers the government is working to be good stewards of their tax dollars.
Mayor Johnson says he hopes a reallocation of funds helps to support other areas in the community--specifically, he wants to see more youth programming that may help to address crime and negative behavior in Augusta's communities.
District 1 commissioner Jordan Johnson says, whatever the intent of the plan, balancing a budget may be a double-edged sword.
"Cutting costs and saving money is always going to be something that [the commission] support[s]," he says, "but if it leads to the reduction of workforce and the loss or slowdown [of] service[s] in Richmond County, that's going to be something I can't support."
District 10 commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle questions where cuts might be made. He says the seemingly obvious answer is to cut services, but adds, "I don't know how much more services [we] can cut because we really aren't providing much at all lately."
Mayor Johnson tells FOX54 the goal of this process is to ensure that if the city had to operate in a deficit, each department would be prepared to move forward with cost-cutting measures.
The commission has not yet voted to move forward with this plan.
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