News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The price of gas is up, the feds are taking more out of your check and Augusta City employees will not be getting a raise this year.
Commissioners voted against giving each city employee an extra $750 a year. Now the people doing the dirty work for the city are asking why are they being left out to dry.
"We have tried to look out for our employees. We want to try and give them a raise. We are just not going to mortgage the farm, so to speak," said Commissioner Donnie Smith.
City employees and taxpayers bought the farm in recent years. News 12 uncovered that several city department heads were given thousands of dollars in raises.
"It wasn't really considered raises. It was increases," said Mayor Pro Tem Corey Johnson.
"We did some reevaluation of the positions and some did get a raise. Some people did receive additional money for additional duties," said City Administrator Fred Russell.
The $300,000-plus tab on the taxpayers' dime is still a touchy subject.
"I just got through telling you I didn't want to talk about it. It happened six months into the year. After I was given the authority to do that. We discussed that a lot, it happened last year," Russell said.
But what didn't happen this year was a proposed $750 raise for all city employees.
"I'm concerned about the guy on the end of the shovel doing the work. Those are the people I think about when I make decisions," Smith said.
City leaders say they have tried to make up for the loss with access to a health clinic. We're told they can bring their kids and see doctor's at a reduced rate.
"It doesn't cost them anything if they're sick. they can take their child their and it doesn't cost them anything. The medicine is free. So during the year, how much is that worth to an employee? Does that make up for the $750 we couldn't give them?" Smith said.
That's a question only all those hard-working employees filing papers and digging ditches for the city can answer.