Pay raises for first responders

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock; April 15, 2008

August, GA --- There is talk of a new way to attract people to the James Brown statue in downtown Augusta…a permanent camera that takes photos of people standing next to the statue.

It's thanks in part to the Greater Augusta Arts Council and a grant from the Georgia Department of Tourism. How does it work? The camera is cell phone activated. Visitor's simply dial a phone number and the camera goes to work. You then stop by the Augusta art council's website to get the picture. The pictures are free, but city leaders say it is a priceless way to get people to take a second look at what Augusta has to offer on the website.

The camera is being tested. It is expected to be up and running in time for James Brown’s birthday bash in May.

This was just one issue on the commission agenda. They are the people who go rushing toward the scene when everyone else is running away...our public safety officers. Now they'll be getting a pay increase a lot earlier than expected.

Richmond County public safety employees along with 9-1-1 personnel will get a $2,000 raise. It was supposed to start on August 1, 2008. Now, that money is just around the corner. The Augusta commission approved a May 1, 2008 start date.

This was part of the city administrator’s budget plan. It all comes at a cost to you of about $55 a year on a $100,000 home, or about $5 dollars a month.

"It's a hard time to find people to do police work, but we need the best quality, and we need the best people, and we need to pay them as best we can to serve and protect our citizens," said administrator Fred Russell.

The commission also signed over land for an 8 story hotel in downtown Augusta.

It would be located right next to the Augusta Common where the old police department is. You may remember some nearby property owners complained...saying they would not have access to Reynolds Street. Those on the other side of the fence touted the fact that it's a 30 million dollar project that will bring 10 thousand square feet of retail space with it -- and 80 new jobs.

"This sends the message that there are lots of outside developers who want to come in and play and play nice...and do great things for downtown Augusta,” said Margaret Woodard who is executive director of the Downtown Development Authority. A site plan is now in the works.

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  • by Linda Location: Augusta on Apr 16, 2008 at 06:28 AM
    The old police dept may not have meaning to a lot of people, but it is an historical piece of property. For anyone who has walked the halls it in the court room, in the jail or just to go down there for police business , there are memories. It just has a nostalgic look about it. Tearing down the building takes all that away. I think the old jail was a great Haunted House! & with some work can be made better. but if you're gonna tear down old buildings...why do we need another hotel? do the ones already down there stay booked to capacity? i hardly think so. what about building a parking lot for the ballpark & other various activities going on downtown??? that's what we need!!! PARKING AVAILABILITY!
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