JUNE 23, 2022, 4:00 p.m. -  WORKSHOP and CITY MANAGER'S BRIEFING









The work session and City Manager’s briefing was held at 4:00 p.m.  Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz recognized Alderman Leggett to offer a prayer.


PRESENT: Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz, Presiding

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

Alderwoman Alicia Miller Blakely, At-Large, Post 2

Alderwoman Bernetta B. Lanier, District 1

Alderman Detric Leggett, District  2

Alderman Nick Palumbo, District 4, Vice-Chairman

Alderman Kurtis Purtee, District 6

ABSENT:    Mayor Van R. Johnson, II

Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan, District 3



City Manager Joseph A. Melder

Chief of Staff, Daphanie Williams

City Attorney Bates Lovett

Clerk of Council Mark Massey

Deputy Clerk of Council Margaret Fox


Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz called the meeting to order, whereupon she read the following statement:

Mayor Jonson is out of the country on a US State Department-sponsored mission to Germany, leading a delegation from Savannah and Atlanta to discuss domestic terrorism prevention and to improve US-European relations. During his time in Germany, the delegation will visit Berlin, Halle and other cities, meet with local mayors and US Embassy officials. Savannah has had a Sister City relationship with Halle, Germany since 2011.

Workshop Agenda Items
1. Impact Fee Update and Draft Methodology Report
Exhibit 1: Draft Methodology Report

PRESENTED by City Manager Melder, Planning & Urban Design Director Bridget Lidy, consultant team led by President Bill Ross of Ross + associates, and Paige Hadley, Ross + associates.

Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz introduced City Manager Melder who gave a brief overview of the presentation.  He introduced Ms. Lidy who began the presentation.  Completing her portion of the presentation, Ms. Lidy introduced Mr. Ross to finalize the PowerPoint presentation.

Following Mr. Ross and Ms. Hadley's presentation, Council Members asked questions and discussed the following matters:

  • Alderwoman Miller Blakely had concerns with the correct acreage of the city's parks (Ms. Hadley stated the presentation used the correct acreage provided as of 2021 by the recreation department, however; she will follow-up with any corrections).  Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked Ms. Lidy when impact fees will begin (the Advisory Committee will present options for Council).  She also discussed the square footage of commercial projects as it relates to impact fees.
  • Alderwoman Lanier asked Mr. Melder if the initial fees will go into the City's General Fund (yes, with specific accounting procedures).  In regulating impact fees, the State has determined how to spend those fees so if the City wanted to change/alter the categories, they would submit the changes to the State Legislature (yes).  She discussed  developments with the impact fee being passed on to the homeowner and asked if there could be language created to protect low-income residents and businesses (Mr. Ross explained exemptions are available to Council when developing the ordinance, namely affordable housing or extraordinary growth and economic opportunity).  Alderwoman Lanier discussed the criteria and decision makers for the Capital Improvements Element (CIE) workflow with Ms. Hadley and how the methodology report determines the calculations.       
  • Alderman Leggett asked City Manager Melder to explain the difference between impact and tap fees (Mr. Melder explained, tap fees are charged to use water & sewer; whereas impact fees are specific fees to developers for growth).
  • Alderwoman Gibson-Carter has shared concerns with the previous and current city managers about the current large scale developments and recommends a moratorium while the City creates an impact fee ordinance.  She discussed the 7-member Impact Fee Development Committee consisting mainly of developers or engineers and asked how much influence the committee has on the creation of the impact fee ordinance.  
  • City Manager Melder addressed Alderwoman Gibson-Carter's concerns and explained the Council will create the impact fee ordinance and the committee will only advise or recommend.  By law, the members of the advisory committee, consist of at least 50% of the development or real estate community.
  • In reference to reduced impact fees, Alderwoman Gibson-Carter asked which developers would qualify for the credits and who would select those developers (Mr. Ross explained Council will decide to have any reductions and set the parameters for those reductions).  She also asked which department would manage the program (Mr. Melder indicated finance & building services departments would administer the program).  Alderwoman Gibson-Carter suggested borrowing best practices from previously established impact fee programs from neighboring municipalities.  She advised the public impact fees are not a tax, and is not exclusive to homes, but is extended for businesses.
  • Mr. Ross explained how developers pass the cost of the impact fees on to the homeowners and how impact fees effect renters (rent charges include impact fees).
  • Alderman Palumbo informed Council the decisions made concerning impact fees will effect the city through 2045.  He had concerns for housing being calculated per dwelling and not per square foot (Mr. Ross indicated a dwelling can be calculated per square foot but they don't recommend it.  It could be too complicated).  Alderman Palumbo discussed multi-use trails having their own category as opposed to being included in parks and recreation.  He asked what percentage of the budget will be affected by impact fees in 2045 (Mr. Ross & Ms. Hadley will calculate and provide  Council with the information).
  • Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz briefly reviewed the major points with regard to the purpose of impact fees.  She had concerns for a dwelling being based on a flat fee and not per square foot.  The impact fee for a dwelling should be based on square footage when creating the ordinance.  Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz recommended projects such as hotels and larger scale developments to be a priority. 
  • City Manager Melder explained in detail the exemption criteria.  He informed Council when structuring the impact fee ordinance there will be language concerning exemptions, however; any project exempted from the fees will be the responsibility of the City to pay.
  • Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz stated the present Council does not want to put the City in a position to create debt in the way of paying impact fees for exemptions.   
  • Alderwoman Miller Blakely asked for the State Law which states the city is responsible for paying the impact fee when projects are exempt (Georgia State Law 37-71).

Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz thanked City Manager Melder, staff and the consultant team for the presentation and information provided to Council.


The PowerPoint presentation is available and on file in the Clerk of Council's office.

Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. Shabazz adjourned the Workshop at 5:55 p.m.


A video recording of the workshop can be found by copying and inserting the link below in your url:




Mark Massey, Clerk of Council


Date Minutes Approved:      July 14, 2022  


Signature:    MM  

Agenda Plus