SAVANNAH, Ga., (WSAV) — Things are starting to heat up as nine aldermen prepare to vote Thursday.
Leaders say the proposed fire fee is meant to provide a more balanced budget and would allow the city of Savannah to maintain its current fire department services. The city would be asking residents to contribute $240 a year to keep it afloat. And not everyone is on board.
District 5, Alderwoman Dr. Estella Shabazz, says “because adding anything….adding anything to your household expenses will be a burden.”
The city says the primary goal is to raise more revenue – and lower expenses.They say they do understand some folks experience hardships.
As a solution, they’ve decided to take $400,000 from the general fund of 186 million- to lower the fire fee for low income residents who may qualify. But, that doesn’t solve the problem for some of the more than 22,000 residents in District 5.
District 5 resident, Dr. Pat Harris, says “Nobody in this room knows what’s going on in my house. And you don’t know what I can pay and what I can’t pay. I may not fall into that poverty line but you don’t know what’s going on in my house that I might not be able to pay that fee.”
City manager Rob Hernandez explains the fire fee is less than 65 cents a day. And it would also lower taxes.
“How do you make a voice and haven’t heard from the people who you represent. Where is the accountability for that council? Where is the accountability? There is none because they vote they way they want to vote. When they want to vote and how they want to vote,” Harris says.
This Thursday leaders will make their decision. Two have already said they are voting no. They only need five to get the budget approved. Next week there will also be a town hall in Districts 3 and 1.
District 1 Town Hall Meeting: Monday, December 11, 2017 at 6:30 p.m., Godley Station School, 2135 Benton Blvd.
District 3 Town Hall Meeting: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 6:00 p.m., Johnson High School, 3012 Sunset Blvd.