ATLANTA – The state budget approved by a conference committee Monday has money for local projects as well as pay raises for state workers and teachers.

The committee capped days of negotiations Monday morning, and the House and Senate voted on the agreement in the evening on the 39th of the 40 days in the legislative session.

Among the local projects getting funding in the fiscal year that begins July 1 are:

-$2 million for a renovation and expansion of the library at the College of Coastal Georgia,

– $4 million for the Jekyll Island State Park Authority to use for erosion mitigation,

– $5.9 million for furnishings for Phase II of the Business Learning Community at the University of Georgia in Athens,

– $500,000 for the seawall near the site of the state-owned Savannah International Trade & Convention Center,

– $2 million to equip the new science and technology building at Savannah State University,

– $3 million for the Barn Bio Lab renovation at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography,

– $1 million for a new crime lab in Savannah,

– $2.8 million in additional spending to add 93 direct-care staff to the East Central Regional Hospital’s Gracewood campus,

– $117,000 in added spending for the Medical College of Georgia Sickle Cell Center at Augusta University,

– $2 million for renovation of the Greenblatt Library at AU

-$2.8 million for security upgrades at the Augusta and Macon Regional Youth Development Centers.

Beyond those local items, the budget has a 3-percent pay raise for teachers and all state employees. Workers in certain hard-to-fill jobs like prison guards could see a 10-percent boost as the state tries to address high turnover and low morale.

The budget now goes to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. The House and Senate didn’t make many changes to the recommendations Deal sent them, but he has the power to simply delete whole items he disagrees with over the next 40 days.


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