Augusta, Georgia

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Augusta is one of the five largest cities in Georgia. Augusta (also known as Augusta–Richmond County) is a consolidated city in the state of Georgia. The city of Augusta and Richmond County governments merged operations in 1996; as of the 2010 Census, the population was 195,844, not counting the unconsolidated cities of Hephzibah and Blythe. The consolidation took effect January 1, 1996 with the city of Augusta surrendering its city charter, and merging operations with Richmond County.

Augusta is the principal city of the Augusta-Richmond County Metropolitan Statistical Area, which as of 2009 had an estimated population of 539,154, making it both the second-largest city and the second-largest metro area in the state after Atlanta.

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Transparency grading process

Last rated on Fed. 2, 2012

The good

  • Budgets are available from 2006 up to the present.[1]
  • Commissioners' contact information is listed.[2]
  • Administrative contacts are available.[3]
  • The Planning and Zoning section of the site has helpful information.[4] Information on permits[5].
  • Audits are available from 2003 up to the present.[6]
  • Local tax information is available.[7][8]
  • Meeting minutes, agendas and times are on the website, though can be hard to navigate.[9][10]
  • Bidding information is posted.[11]
  • Information is posted on how to file for a public records.[12]

The bad

County Commission

Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia operates under a Mayor / Commission / Administrator form of government. The Mayor is the Chief Executive of Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia. The Mayor is elected on a county-wide basis by the electors of the entire county in a nonpartisan general election. Each mayor serves a four-year term and is eligible to serve two consecutive four-year terms.[14]

The Mayor possesses and exercises the following executive and administrative powers and duties:[14]

  1. Presiding at all meetings of the Commission
  2. Serving as the official head of Richmond County and the City of Augusta for the service of process and for ceremonial purposes
  3. Administering oaths and to take affidavits
  4. Signing all written contracts entered into by the Commission on behalf of Richmond County Georgia and the City of Augusta and other contracts and instruments executed by the county and city which by law are required to be in writing
  5. Ensuring that all laws, ordinances, and resolutions of Richmond County and the City of Augusta are faithfully executed
  6. Exercising such other powers and perform such other duties as may be required by ordinance or resolution of the Commission.

View additional responsibilities of the Mayor's Office.

District Title Name Term
At-Large Mayor Deke S. Copenhaver 2011 - 2014
District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken 2010 - 2012
District 2 Commissioner Corey Johnson 2011-2014
District 3 Commissioner
Mayor Pro Tem
Joe Bowles 2010 - 2012
District 4 Commissioner Alvin Mason 2011 - 2014
District 5 Commissioner Bill Lockett 2010 - 2012
District 6 Commissioner Joe Jackson 2011 - 2014
District 7 Commissioner Jerry Brigham 2010 - 2012
District 8 Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle 2011 - 2014
District 9 Commissioner J. R. Hatney 2010 - 2012
District 10 Commissioner Grady Smith 2011 - 2014

County Administrator

The Administrator presides over the daily operation and administration of the local government within the guidelines of Augusta-Richmond County ordinances, policies, and procedures; state and federal laws; and implements directives from the Mayor and Augusta-Richmond County Commission.[15] The Administrator reports to the Mayor and Augusta-Richmond County Commission.

Primary Responsibilities:[15]

  • Executes all lawful orders, directions, instructions, ordinances, resolutions, and regulations adopted by the Augusta-Richmond County Commission
  • Manages and directs the activities of all departments by planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling the staff and other resources
  • Advises Mayor and Augusta-Richmond County Commission on financial conditions and future needs of local government; makes recommendation on county affairs; informs Mayor of significant controversial issues involving government, its services, policies and employees
  • Prepares, submits, and executes a proposed annual budget
  • Provides necessary documentation for the Mayor and Clerk of Commission to prepare the agenda for all Commission meetings and attends all Commission meetings

Budget

Expenditures

2009
Actuals
2010
Budget
2011
Budget
Personal Services & Employee Benefits $40,085,208 $39,856,620 $42,391,955
Purchased/Contracted Services 11,356,500 12,390,128 12,769,413
Supplies 6,526,284 7,578,710 8,639,914
Capital Outlay 209,849 16,000 -
Interfund/Interdepartmental 1,623,751 1,771,920 1,756,080
Other Costs 7,261,229 7,340,602 6,914,480
Debt Service 330,556 - -
Cost Reimbursement (246,149) (116,000) (158,900)
Non-Departmental 3,914 (500,770) (868,797)
Total 67,151,142 68,337,210 71,444,145
Transfers Out 2,390,898 9,816,996 6,322,975
Total Expenditures $69,542,040 $78,154,206 $77,767,120

Taxes

The Tax Commissioner webpage has information on local taxes, including rates, how taxes are used, and how to pay.[16]

Public records

In April of 2010, Augusta adopted a more open policy for public records requests. An 8 month old policy that required FOIA requests be reviewed by the city's legal department.

The new policy was drafted by Interim General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie and gives discretion to department heads to handle requests on their own, asking them to seek legal advice only when they believe it is appropriate. The new policy overturns the former General Counsel Chiquita Johnson who'd enforced the measure. Johnson's tenure as chief legal adviser ended in January with a forced resignation over several performance issues.[17]

External links

References