AUGUSTA — City councilors will meet Thursday to discuss adding a police officer and two firefighter/paramedics as part of their review of the proposed public safety budget.

The councilors are reviewing City Manager William Bridgeo’s proposed $52.6 million combined city and school budget.

Bridgeo’s proposed budget would restore funding for a patrol officer position and fund two new firefighter/paramedic positions.

The police patrol position was cut from the budget last year. Bridgeo said city councilors have said they want more police officers on duty.

Bridgeo said the cost of adding two firefighter/paramedic positions would likely be offset by increased ambulance revenues and reduced overtime, because the additional staff would allow the city to increase ambulance runs, and boost revenues from fees.

The proposed budget for public safety totals $8.2 million, an increase of $295,000, or 3.7 percent.

In a more immediate issue involving public safety, councilors are also scheduled to discuss authorizing city crews to fix a set of unsafe public stairs that connect the city’s parking garage on Dickman Street and Oak Street to the downtown area.

City Engineer Lionel Cayer wrote in a recent memo to Bridgeo that the concrete stairs “have deteriorated to the point that a full replacement of the stairs is needed.”

Bridgeo said he recommends that councilors authorize the work, estimated to cost about $25,000, and pay for it with funding from the city’s downtown tax increment finance account.

Councilors meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center. Councilors are also scheduled to discuss a new E911 Road Naming Subcommittee proposal for road names for a connector and new roundabouts near the planned new exit 113 interchange and Cushnoc Crossing Bridge, and to discuss forming a “sister city” relationship with Uskudar, a municipal district in Istanbul, Turkey, with about 580,000 residents.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]