The numbers are in for 2016’s proposed City Budget, and the $364 million dollar price tag includes enhanced public safety and road maintenance.
Highlights of the proposed budget include:
- $364 million consolidated 2016 Budget is fully balanced
- 15 new police officer positions to combat street-level drug activity
Those new officers would more than double UNIT, the undercover street level drug squad Chief Jack Lumpkin created last January.
Since those 12 officers have been working, the SCMPD says its made 195 arrests, 143 of those for felonies. Taken 126 guns off the street as well as more than 500 grams of cocaine, 2690 grams of marijuana, 62 grams of meth and more than $10,000 in cash from forfeitures.
There’s also money in the budget for more license plate readers, body cameras and tasers.
- 15 new firefighter positions
- Full-year funding of public safety salary increases
- No property tax rate increase, maintaining the lowest millage rate (12.48 mills) in the City of Savannah since 1987
- 2 new positions to enhance street sweeping
- New equipment to enhance pothole repair services
- Funding for new Ambassador Program to enhance public safety, maintenance and visitor services downtown
- $82 million capital spending plan. Projects expected to begin in 2016 include:
- New Cultural Arts Center
- New Arena and Canal District development
- Waters Avenue streetscape redevelopment
- Major streetscape enhancements on Broughton, River, Bay streets.
- New Center for Family Resources and Services on Pennsylvania Avenue
- Habersham Village drainage improvements
- Development of former Coastal Empire Fairgrounds into mixed-use housing, neighborhood retail and regional recreation complex
- New Coffee Bluff Road sidewalks and enhancements to Joseph Tribble Park
“The City of Savannah has a lot to be proud of,” City Manager Stephanie Cutter said. “We are making all of these improvements, and we are doing it without raising the property tax rate, which is impressive.”
The budget is balanced with an expected:
- 2 percent increase ($811,680) in property tax revenue
- 7 percent increase ($1,016,540) in sales tax revenue
- 8 percent increase ($450,000) in hotel/motel tax revenue
- $2.3 million decrease in reimbursements from Chatham County for Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department costs due to a renegotiated intergovernmental agreement
Public hearings on the 2016 proposed budget will take place Tuesday, Nov. 24 and Thursday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. in the Council Chambers in City Hall. The budget is scheduled for adoption December 10.
The proposed budget can be found online, at www.savannahga.gov/budget or in person at the Clerk of Council’s Office in City Hall or at the Bull Street Library.