News12 at First at Five/ Dec. 05, 2013
Augusta,Ga (WRDW)----During the holidays, everyone is having parties and the city of Augusta is no different. On Saturday, 2,700 city employees will meet at the bell auditorium for their annual banquet.
We crunched the numbers and found out it could be costing the city thousands. Some commissioners are okay with spending extra because of the holiday season.
The municipal building's halls are decked with flyers for a holiday Christmas party. "I think it's a good time to have something for our employees. I think it's a good time of the year to have something. It's not going to cost taxpayers that much," said Commissioner Mary Davis.
The amount the city paid in the past two years to feed 2,700 employees dinner and supply a band or dj is enough to buy a couple of used cars. In 2012, they spent $16,000. In 2011, city officials spent $17,000.
"It's an expense. It's a legitimate expense. I'm not trying to be Mr. Scrooge, but we've got to look at ways to save money. This is a legitimate expense," said Commissioner Joe Jackson.
"They do work hard. They're not overpaid by any means and they do a great job for the city," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.
City employees in Albany, Ga don't have a city wide banquet. Instead, each city department celebrates separately, and employees have to chip in. Savannah City Employees don't have a Christmas banquet, but do have a new year's lunch.
All employees are allowed to eat on the tax payers dime and the cost is about $7,500. In Macon, city departments celebrate Christmas mostly on their own dime with a small portion coming from taxpayers.
"It's going to be fun to get everybody together and just enjoy each others company," said Commissioner Davis.