DECEMBER 10, 2020 – 12:00 noon


Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the City Council work session and City Manager’s Briefing was held via Zoom video communications at 12:00 noon.  Following the roll call, Mayor Johnson asked Alderman Palumbo to offer an invocation.


PRESENT:  Mayor Van R. Johnson, II, Presiding

Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter, At-Large, Post 1, Chairman

Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely, At-Large, Post 2

Alderwoman Bernetta B. Lanier, District 1

Alderman Detric Leggett, District  2

Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan, District 3

Alderman Nick Palumbo, District 4, Vice-Chairman

Alderwoman Dr. Estella Edwards Shabazz, District 5, Mayor Pro-Tem

Alderman Kurtis Purtee, District 6



Acting City Manager Michael B. Brown

Assistant City Manager Heath Lloyd

Chief Budget Officer Melissa Carter

Director of Planning & Urban Design Bridget Lidy

City Attorney Bates Lovett

Clerk of Council Mark Massey

Workshop Agenda Items
1. Review of the December 10, 2020 City Council Meeting Agenda

Acting City Manager Brown identified the following discussion items from the Agenda:

  • Review of the Budget (Agenda Item #8).  First and second readings of the Budget, and first and second readings of the Revenue Ordinance.  A public hearing today and second (final) hearing on Friday, December 18, 2020.  The process lends an opportunity for Council's full input and all possible modifications both in the Budget and in the work program. 

Mr. Brown recommends revisiting the Budget every 3 months especially at mid-year.  He proposes Chief Budget Officer Melissa Carter give a brief recap of the Budget for the public hearing.  The Budget is posted on the City's web site, including the Council Policy document which includes; poverty, childhood and chronic poverty, and income inequity agenda.  Additional concerns included violent crimes, affordable housing, and blight.  Research and data goes to Council well ahead of time to allow Council Members to review documents and policy changes before any work sessions or mobile events that are COVID-19 safe, to brief Council.  

Acting City Manager Brown discussed the above Council policies along with mechanisms and/or agencies to address each concern, focusing on the economic interest of the City of Savannah's residents and businesses.  He suggested changing the name of the budget department to the Research and Budget department allowing for research to be added to data.

Mr. Brown asked that all public comment speakers identify themselves with name, address, and if a resident of the City of Savannah.         

  • Rezoning of 3001 Little Neck Road (Agenda Items #9 and #12).  A short briefing and public hearing will be provided. 

Acting City Manager Brown recommends approval of Item #12.  He asked Assistant City Manager Heath Lloyd and Director of Planning & Urban Design Bridget Lidy to be available during discussions to answer/address any concerns or questions.  The landfill should have a high quality of operation for waste and leachate removal.

Mr. Lloyd previously sent a memo to Council highlighting the discussion points for 3001 Little Neck Road.  Mr. Lloyd introduced Ms. Lidy for the presentation.  Following the presentation:

Mayor Johnson asked, what happens if the City just leaves the landfill as is, who would treat the leachate.  Acting City Manager answered, the situation gets worse and the City will need to deal with the problem but not receive any revenue for the work.

Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked Acting City Manager Brown if the City is receiving any revenue from treating the leachate now.  Mr. Brown answered, the leachate is transported through the City in trucks and the City receives revenue for the transport.  If Council approves Item #12, the City will receive revenue from State tipping fees, property taxes and leachate fee removal (Mayor Johnson asked Ms. Melissa Carter to provide the dollar amount for leachate removal to Council by the end of the meeting).

Alderman Palumbo asked Mr. Brown, from the actions already taken, if the City needs to make the decision to receive revenue due to those actions.  Mr. Brown answered, correct.

Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz gave her explanation of the zoning.  The County originally owned the land, it was annexed into the City of Savannah.  The City regulations changed the zoning code to IH, which is a stricter zoning than the previous County zoning code.  She thanked Assistant City Manager Heath Lloyd and Mr. John Sawyer (Retiree) for their long-standing work on this project for the betterment of residents in the City of Savannah and Chatham County.          

  • Special Use Permit to Allow a Shelter for Salvation Army (Agenda Item #10).  The Salvation Army's petition to Council for a transitional center.

Acting City Manager Brown has attended the first MPC meeting for the special use permit and will attend all meetings.  MPC approved Item #10 unanimously.  He asked Ms. Bridget Lidy to provide a short briefing for Council. 

City Attorney Lovett asked Ms. Lidy to provide the presentation at the regular meeting.  Mayor Johnson asked Ms. Lidy to shared with Council key points now and the full presentation at the regular meeting.

Alderwoman Lanier asked if there are requirements for distance between a package shop and the Salvation Army Center.  City Attorney Lovett prefers to address this question in the regular meeting, so the public can hear the answer.

Acting City Manager Brown announced that any reference to the name Bartow will be removed from City maps.  The name and what it represents is not in line with City standards.

  • Grounds Maintenance Contract (Item #5).

Acting City Manager Brown made a prior commitment to Council that all outside contracts would be reviewed to determine if City employees could do the work.  He will incorporate all possible means for the City to employ ex-offenders through Savannah Impact and neighborhood residents affected by the project/contract.  Acting City Manager Brown is recommending approval of Item #5 with the above provisos.

Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan advised Mr. Brown the WW Law Center was not included in Item #5.  She has received numerous complaints from residents concerning the outside appearance of the Center.  Assistant City Manager Lloyd answered, there are multiple grounds maintenance contracts.  This specific contract is for City facilities and cemeteries, there is a separate contract for right-of-ways and parks.  WW Law Center falls under Greenscapes.  Mr. Lloyd will verify which contract WW Law Center is assigned and advise Council.

Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked Mr. Lloyd about the City focus efforts  on the Southside.  The East and West Sides are taken care of on a regular basis and the Southside residents would like to be included in the regular grounds maintenance programs.  Acting City Manager Brown answered he is working with staff and questioning are the City services equitable.  He asked Council Members to submit areas or parks needing attention so he, along with staff can review past grounds maintenance schedules to determine if changes are needed for upgraded services.  Alderwoman Miller Blakely had concerns for residents putting household goods and furniture on the medians rather than the curb, making the neighborhoods appearance unattractive.      

  • Accessory Dwelling Units (Item #11).

Acting City Manager Brown recommends Council deny and send the application back to staff and MPC for additional work.

  • Purchase/Appeal from someone who did not receive a bid award.

Acting City Manager Brown recommends approval due to the Savannah First Policy and an NWBE Disadvantage Policy.  This particular vendor was not located in the City of Savannah when the bid was submitted.

Alderwoman Wilder-Bryan noted the Council allows for the approval of other services that do really good jobs in the communities.

In reference to the contract discussed, Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz questioned Acting City Manager Brown from a different viewpoint in regards to the Savannah Impact Program.  She asked will the City include contract deadlines of six months or a year.  Mr. Brown answered, he will have discussions with Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz to further outline the details.

Mayor Johnson adjourned the Work Session at 1:04 p.m.


The audio recordings of the work sessions can be found by copying and inserting the below links in your url:



Mark Massey, Clerk of Council

Date Minutes Approved: 12/22/2020

Initials:  mm

Agenda Plus