Richmond County, Georgia

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 08:57, 31 January 2013 by Akeown (Talk)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
Grade2.pngA-
Budget
{{{1}}}
Meetings
{{{1}}}
Elected Officials
{{{1}}}
Administrative Officials
{{{1}}}
Permits, zoning
{{{1}}}
Audits
{{{1}}}
Contracts
{{{1}}}
Lobbying P
Partial.png
Public records
{{{1}}}
Local taxes
{{{1}}}
County websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

Richmond County is one of 159 counties in Georgia (Sunshine Review). Its county seat is Augusta. It is one of the original counties of Georgia, created February 5, 1777. As of 2000, the population was 199,775. The 2007 Census Estimate showed a population of 199,486.

Following an election in 1995, the city of Augusta (the county seat) consolidated governments with Richmond County. The consolidated entity is known as Augusta-Richmond County, or simply Augusta. The cities of Hephzibah and Blythe in southern Richmond County voted to remain separate and not consolidate.

Evaluation of website

In 2011 Richmond County earned a Sunny Award for having a perfect website transparency score.

Main article: Evaluation of Georgia county websites

This site was last evaluated Jan. 31, 2013.

The good

  • Budgets are available from 2006 up to the present.[1]
  • Elected Officials
    • Commissioners' contact information is listed. [2]
  • Meetings
    • Meetings and agendas are accessible through the Agenda Book page [3], which takes you to an offsite repository for documents. [4]
    • Agendas and minutes are archived for multiple years.
  • Administration
    • Administrative contacts are available. [5]
  • Zoning
    • The Planning and Zoning section of the site has helpful information, including comprehensive plan, historic preservation and zoning ordinances. [6]
    • Information on permits[7].
  • Audits
    • Annual financial audits are posted.[8]
    • Audits are archived to 2003.
  • Taxes
    • Local tax information is available, including levy information.[9]
    • Tax bills are searchable. [10]
    • An understanding your tax bill page is posted. [11]
  • Contracts
    • Bidding information and contracts are posted.[12]
    • Bid listing reports archived to 2002. [13]
  • Public Records
  • Lobbying

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 non-partisan general election. Each mayor serves a four-year term and is eligible to serve two consecutive four-year terms.[16]

The Mayor possesses and exercises the following executive and administrative powers and duties:[16]

  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.

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.[17] The Administrator reports to the Mayor and Augusta-Richmond County Commission.

Primary Responsibilities:[17]

  • 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.[18]

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.[19]

External links

References