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ACC Commissioners tangle over federal money and pay raise

Commissioner Mariah Parker
Athens Clarke County District 2 Commissioner Mariah Parker was one of a quartet of commissioners who modified a plan to spend about $40 million in federal relief funds.

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners bumped heads Tuesday over how to spend some $40 million dollars in federal relief funds.

Athens-Clarke County has just over $39.8 million dollars in American Rescue Plan funds to spend, and commissioners are ready to start spending. But, before local lawmakers can start writing checks, they want to agree on priorities for that money, as well as advisory groups to help guide the process.

The priorities for that federal funding fall into several broad policy areas, which commissioners have referred to as “buckets.” Those buckets include affordable housing, youth violence prevention, homelessness, workforce development, and behavioral health.

Commissioners argued over the plan, with some pushing to table the proposal until next month, but a majority of commissioners, citing the urgency of the community’s needs, wanted to move the measure forward, and it passed 6 – 4.

Commissioners also bickered over a pay raise for themselves. Commissioners currently make about $19,000 - $20,000 a year, depending on their length of service and other factors. The proposal in front of commissioners, which passed 6 – 4, would raise the base salary to about $28,000 dollars a year. Some of that cost is expected to be offset by state funding in Governor Brian Kemp’s budget, now being considered by state lawmakers.

In a less contentious item, commissioners voted unanimously to pass a strategic plan to guide policymaking over the next three years. Martin Matheny, WUGA News.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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