June 7, 2018, City Council Regular Meeting




PRESENT: Mayor Eddie W. DeLoach, Presiding

Aldermen Carol Bell, Julian Miller, Brian Foster, Bill Durrence, Van Johnson, II, Tony Thomas, and Estella E. Shabazz

Rob Hernandez, City Manager 

Bret Bell, Assistant to the City Manager 

Brooks Stillwell, City Attorney

ABSENT: Alderman John Hall

The regular meeting of Council was held this date at 2:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited in unison followed by the Invocation by Mayor Pro-Tem Carol Bell.

Mayor DeLoach announced that Alderman John Hall is not with us today because he had a family emergency of a serious nature. He asked that we all keep him in our prayers and hopes everything works out to the satisfaction of everybody concerned.

Upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderwoman Shabazz, unanimous approval was given for the Mayor to sign an affidavit and resolution on Litigation and Personnel for an Executive Session held today where no votes were taken.


BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah as follows:

At the meeting held on the 7th day of June, 2018 the Council entered into a closed session for the purpose of discussing Litigation and Personnel. At the close of the discussions upon this subject, the Council reentered into open session and herewith takes the following action in open session:

  1. The actions of Council and the discussions of the same regarding the matter set forth for the closed session purposes are hereby ratified;
  2. Each member of this body does hereby confirms that to the best of his or her knowledge, the subject matter of the closed session was devoted to matters within the specific relevant exception(s) as set forth above;
  3. The presiding officer is hereby authorized and directed to execute an affidavit, with full support of the Council in order to comply with O.C.G.A. §50-14-4(b); 17
  4. The affidavit shall be included and filed with the official minutes of the meeting and shall be in a form as required by the statute.

ADOPTED AND APPROVED: JUNE 7, 2018 upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderwoman Shabazz, and unanimously carried.

1. Motion to Approve the Summary/Final Minutes for the City Council Work Session and City Manager's Briefing of May 24, 2018
05.24.18 WS minutes.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderwoman Shabazz, and unanimously carried.

2. Motion to Approve the Summary/Final Minutes for the City Council Meeting of May 24, 2018
05.24.18 Minutes.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderwoman Shabazz, and unanimously carried.

3. Motion to Approve Alcohol License for Jose J. Carro of Tandem Coffee & Spirits
Density Map - Tandem Coffee & Spirits20180530_10133988.pdf
Alcohol Documents - Tandem Coffee & Spirits20180530_10145129.pdf
Measurement Report - Tandem Coffee & Spirits20180530_10130927.pdf

A public hearing was held. No persons came forward to speak either for or against the item.

Hearing closed upon motion of Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderwoman Bell, and unanimously carried.

Approved upon motion of Alderman Miller, seconded by Alderman Foster, and unanimously carried.

4. Motion to Approve Alcohol License for Rashmikant Patel of Discount Corner #4
Density Map - Discount Corner #420180530_10213688.pdf
Measurement Report - Discount Corner #420180530_10205919.pdf
Alcohol Documents - Discount Corner #420180530_10221829.pdf
Code Compliance Report - Discount Corner #420180530_10321016.pdf

A public hearing was held. No persons came forward to speak either for or against the item.

Hearing closed upon motion of Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderwoman Bell, and unanimously carried.

Approved upon motion of Alderman Miller, seconded by Alderman Foster, and unanimously carried.

5. Motion to Approve Alcohol License for Stephanie Singh of Taste of India
Density Map - Taste of India20180530_10180395.pdf
Alcohol Documents - Taste of India20180530_10173441.pdf
Measurement Report - Taste of India20180530_10183557.pdf

A public hearing was held. No persons came forward to speak either for or against the item.

Hearing closed upon motion of Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderwoman Bell, and unanimously carried.

Approved upon motion of Alderman Miller, seconded by Alderman Foster, and unanimously carried.

6. Motion to Rezone 120 E Duffy Street from 1-B to 3-R (Petitioner: Robert L. McCorkle for KPL Real Estate Services, LLC)
120 E Duffy St Rezoning 18-002327-ZA Planning Commission Recommendation.pdf
120 E Duffy St Rezoning 18-002327-ZA Draft Ordinance.pdf

Marcus Lotson, Metropolitan Planning Commission: Thank you Mr. Mayor. Briefly the petitioner is requesting to rezone property at 120 East Duffy Street. He's requesting to rezone this property from the 1-B classification to the 3-R classification in the Victorian neighborhood. That neighborhood has six zoning classifications, all of which are mixed use. The petitioner is requesting the 3-R classification for the intent of constructing a residential building on this property. This property is just one block west of the corner of Abercorn and Duffy. The Planning Commission found that the proposed zoning was an appropriate zoning classification for this location and is recommending approval.

Hearing closed upon motion of Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderwoman Bell, and unanimously carried.

Approved upon motion of Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried.

7. Motion to Approve the Emergency and Disaster Management Ordinance
EM Ordinance July 2017 FINAL DRAFT PROPOSED.pdf

No Action

8. Motion to Revise the Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance
Alcohol Ordinance online survey results.pdf

Alderman Foster: Mr. Mayor, I know this is the first reading but I would like to propose an amended version of this to Section 8 that basically removes the background check requirement language and we have a copy that we have submitted to the City Council Clerk.

The motion was seconded by Alderman Miller and unanimously carried.

Alderwoman Bell: Point of order Mr. Attorney, since the Alcohol Beverage Ordinance, the revision is under first reading, we didn't need a vote, but if it's a unanimous vote then could we make it first and second?

Attorney Stillwell: If it's Council’s desire to do that, you could do that today. You did advertise it as first reading, but I don't know that there's any opposition at this point, but that's up to you.

Alderwoman Bell: So we could pass it then on the first reading?

Attorney Stillwell: You could pass it on first and second reading if you have unanimous consent?

Alderwoman Bell: We had it.

Attorney Stillwell: Well that was to the amendment.

Alderman Thomas: But we advertised as a first reading today, correct?

Attorney Stillwell: You did.

Alderman Johnson: And there's significant comments regarding this and I think we need to allow time for the public to have an opportunity to say something.

Attorney Stillwell: I think it's a good idea to go ahead and put it on first reading with the amended language. Then if anybody wants to comment or say I didn’t like the way that's written or something, they'll have two weeks to comment on it.

[City Attorney Stillwell made the following comments later in the meeting]

Attorney Stillwell: Mr. Mayor, I misstated something a minute ago when you asked me about first and second reading on that ordinance on the alcohol. I was incorrect in what I said, it was advertised for first and second reading, but it's still up to Council whether you want to do it on first reading or first and second, but I wanted to correct that I misspoke that.

Alderman Durrence: I think because we have amended the language, we probably ought to just leave it on first reading and give people two weeks to make sure that there's no objections.

9. Motion to Amend the Zoning Ordinance Regarding the Savannah Historic District (Petitioner: Planning Commission)
Draft Schedule for Text Amendments to Sec. 8-3030 Savannah Historic District.pdf
Draft Ordinance 20180420 Savannah Historic District Ordinance Text Amendment 17-006200-ZA.pdf

Continued to the meeting of June 21, 2018 upon motion of Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderman Miller and unanimously carried.

10. Motion to Amend the Zoning Ordinance Regarding the Cuyler-Brownville Demolition and Relocation Standards (Petitioner: Planning Commission)
Draft Ordinance Cuyler-Brownsville Demolition and Relocation Standards Text Amendment 18-001926-ZA.pdf

Ordinance read for the first time in Council June 7, 2018, then by unanimous consent of Council read a second time, placed upon its passage, adopted and approved upon a motion by Alderman Johnson, seconded by Alderwoman Shabazz, and unanimously carried.


To Be Entitled


BE IT ORDAINED by the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah, Georgia, in regular meeting of Council assembled and pursuant to lawful authority thereof:

SECTION 1:  That Part 8, Chapter 3, Zoning of the Code of the City of Savannah, Georgia (2003) hereinafter referenced as "Code," be amended as follows:

Note: Text to be repealed shown in red, bold, and strikethrough.


Article B, Sec. 8-3029(H)(3) (Cuyler-Brownsville Planned Neighborhood Conservation District)

  1. Demolition and relocation of structures. In accordance with the purpose of this district, the VCO and the MPC, where requested, shall review all requests for the demolition of contributing structures or the relocation of structures into, within, and out of Cuyler- Brownsville.

3. Demolition and relocation review process.

      1. Responsibility for review. The VCO and MPC, where applicable, shall be responsible for all demolition and relocation reviews for Cuyler- Brownsville. The MPC shall review applications for demolition or relocation of contributing construction only when:

(1)       The petitioner requests such a review in the application;

(2)       Those agencies and organizations listed in this subsection H.4.a submit a written request to the VCO within ten (10) working days of notification of the application by the VCO; or

(3)       At the request of the VCO.

      1. Review period. Within 15 working days of receipt of the application, the VCO shall approve, deny, or recommend it to the MPC for a public hearing.

An application denied by the VCO shall automatically trigger a stay of demolition or relocation for six months from the date of denial in order to allow public notice in accordance with subsection H.4.a. The VCO shall notify the applicant, in writing, stating the reason(s) why it has been denied.

Applications to be heard by the MPC shall be accompanied by a recommendation from the VCO in the form of a staff report. Upon notice of a request for the MPC review, the application will be scheduled for a MPC meeting. Any decision by the VCO or MPC shall be provided to the applicant, in writing, within five (5) working days.

Upon the expiration of the six month stay of demolition or relocation, a demolition permit shall be granted if the application has not been withdrawn, or other mitigative efforts have not been approved.

SECTION 2: That the requirement of Section 8-3341 of said Code and the law in such cases made and provided has been satisfied.  That an opportunity for a public hearing was afforded anyone having an interest or property right which may have been affected by this zoning amendment, said notice being published in the Savannah Morning News, on the 9th day of May, 2018, a copy of said notice being attached hereto and made a part hereof.

SECTION 3: All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.

EFFECTIVE DATE:  This ordinance shall be effective as of the date hereof.


11. Motion to Amend the Tour Service for Hire Ordinance to Establish Composition of the Tourism Advisory Committee
Redline Version_Tour Service for Hire Ordinance Revisions.pdf
TAC Restructure Memo.pdf

Alderman Durrence: Mr. Mayor, as part of the process that the City engaged in some time back to create a Tourism Management Plan, one of the first steps of that was to adapt a new structure for the Tourism Advisory Committee. Several stakeholders have sat down and worked through a variety of suggestions and we do have the new structure ready to go and it is in place. As soon as we pass this they can start meeting that way immediately.

Ordinance read for the first time in Council June 7, 2018, then by unanimous consent of Council read a second time, placed upon its passage, adopted and approved upon a motion by Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderwoman Bell, and unanimously carried.

Ordinance on file in the Office of the Clerk of Council.

12. Motion to Adjust the FY18-22 Capital Improvement Plan
CIP Amendment 5rev - June 7.pdf

Ordinance read for the first time in Council June 7, 2018, then by unanimous consent of Council read a second time, placed upon its passage, adopted and approved upon a motion by Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Durrence, and unanimously carried.

Alderman Miller: Just to make sure everybody knows what we’re talking about, Mr. City Manager can you explain what we're doing here?

City Manager Hernandez: Mayor, members of City Council, what we're doing here is as I stated previously, we are being very aggressive in managing our capital projects. This particular action before you moves funds out of district specific SPLOST holding accounts and it moves them into actual capital so that we can start expending dollars on those projects.

Alderman Thomas: I think the key that needs to be made is that these are SPLOST funds.

Alderman Miller: These are SPLOST dollars that were designated for these type projects and they are now being moved so we can spend them on those projects.

City Manager Hernandez: Correct.

13. Motion to Adopt Resolution Supporting Petition to Receive Surplus U.S. Army Equipment for Veterans Memorial Park
Resolution Army Equipment for Veterans Park.pdf

Alderman Thomas: This is an item that is going towards our park, Veterans Memorial Park, at the terminus of Truman Parkway and Abercorn. I would like Bret Bell, who has worked on this component of that, if he could explain this a little bit to us.

Bret Bell, Assistant to the City Manager: So for the past, since the beginning of the year, we’ve been working with the 3rd ID in an attempt to secure surplus army equipment for static display in the park. We've been going through an ongoing process, we're doing everything they want. We have the participation of Congressman Carter, they're in support as well. This is part of the formal process, we have to submit a resolution adopted by Council, as well as a letter from the Mayor to specifically petition the Army for these surplus equipment. They would actually be loaning us the equipment, we wouldn't own it, and they can take it back at any time.


WHEREAS, the City of Savannah is developing Veterans Park, located at the southern terminus of the Truman Parkway on the Abercorn Street Extension; and

WHEREAS, Veterans Park will pay tribute to Savannah’s strong military connection, including serving as home to Hunter Army Airfield and thousands of military veterans and employees; and

WHEREAS, Veterans Park will include a walking trail and large flag pole to fly the American Flag; and

WHEREAS, the City of Savannah wishes to include surplus Army equipment to be used for static display in the park to further pay tribute to our military partners; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Army maintains a Static Display Program managed by the Army Donations Programs Office for the purposes of donating to eligible organizations conditionally issued condemned or obsolete Army combat pieces of equipment for static display purposes; and

WHEREAS, the City has petitioned the U.S. Army Static Display Program for conditional loan of such display equipment under provisions of Title 10 United States Code 2572; and

WHEREAS, if the City of Savannah receives such a donation, the City will assume all responsibility for the upkeep and safety of the displayed items with the understanding that the equipment cannot be placed on private property.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Savannah City Council does hereby petition the U.S. Army for conditional loan of condemned or obsolete equipment for static display in Veterans Park, and pledges to forever be good stewards of this equipment.

ADOPTED and APPROVED upon motion of Alderman Thomas, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried.

14. Motion to Adopt Resolution Calling for Election to Allow the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages on Premises Beginning at 11 a.m. on Sundays
Brunch Bill Resolution Savannah.pdf

Alderman Thomas: Mr. Mayor when, okay this would be for the election for November 6, 2018, so that's this year. So, after that we could enact it and become law if it passes by the voters, correct?

Mayor DeLoach: Is that the date we are doing that vote?

Alderman Thomas: Yeah, I just wanted to make sure we put that in the record, because there are some folks that think we can do it now. We need to let them know this election is November 6, 2018.

Alderwoman Shabazz: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you Alderman Thomas for making that statement, it gives me a segway into my statement or questions. In reference to changing the time for alcoholic beverage sales on Sunday. Presently it's at 12 noon, am I correct?

Alderman Durrence: 12:30.

Alderman Thomas: Is this a State law or who has come up with the change, the State?

Alderman Durrence: The State passed it.

Alderwoman Shabazz: I see, so therefore it's going on the ballot you said Alderman Thomas…

Mayor DeLoach: November 6.

Alderman Foster: It's only if we pass the resolution, it’s the way the law was written.

Alderwoman Shabazz: I see, okay that was my concern.

Alderman Durrence: Just for clarification, to the City Attorney, could you answer this. Would it become, assuming the referendum passed, would it become effective immediately or would it be January 1st or would there be some specifics about that?

Attorney Stillwell: I'm not sure. I'd have to look and see what the law says, but it would be either right away or within a very few short period after that but I'll let you know that. I think it's January 1st. It is in the resolution as January 1st. If it passes it will be effective January 1, 2019.


WHEREAS, the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah, Georgia ( the “City”) is a municipality duly constituted and existing pursuant to Georgia law; and

WHEREAS, the General Assembly of the State of Georgia has enacted legislation at O.C.G.A. § 3-3-7 (j.1) authorizing the City to permit and regulate the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., if such provision is approved in a referendum by the electors of the City voting in an election as called and conducted pursuant to Georgia law; and

WHEREAS, the City currently regulates the consumption of alcohol on premises on Sundays and, subject to voter approval, the City is intends to utilize the authority provided for at O.C.G.A. § 3- 3-7 (j.1); and

WHEREAS, in order to place the question of extended Sunday hours for alcohol consumption on premises the City must pass a resolution and forward a certified copy of same to the Elections Superintendent for placing on the ballot; and

WHEREAS, the City resolves to call for a referendum election for the purposes of determining whether or not these powers shall be exercised.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF SAVANNAH hereby direct the Elections Superintendent to place the following question from Senate Bill 17 (O.C.G.A. § 3-3-7 (j.1)(2)) on the General Election Ballot for November 6, 2018, to read as follows:

Shall the governing authority of THE CITY OF SAVANNAH be authorized to permit and regulate Sunday sales of distilled spirits or alcoholic beverages for beverage purposes by the drink from 11:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.” ( ) YES ( ) NO

NOW, FURTHERMORE, the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah directs the Elections Superintendent to cause the date and purpose of the election to be published in the official organ of the county once a week for two weeks immediately preceding the date thereof.

Approved this 7th day of June, 2018 upon motion of Alderman Miller, seconded by Alderman Durrence, and unanimously carried.

15. Motion to Approve Contract with Holland and Holland, Inc. for the Terminal Apron Expansion Project (Event No. 5949)
Issued for Bid Documents Updated 3.13.18_Part1.pdf
Issued for Bid Documents Updated 3.13.18_Part2.pdf
Issued for Bid Documents Updated 3.13.18_Part3.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

16. Motion to Approve Contract with Griffin Contracting, Inc. for the Domicile and Cell Parking Lot Expansion Project (Event No. 5993)
Bid Documents Griffin Contracting, Inc for Domicile and Cell Parking Lot Expansion Project.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

17. Motion to Approve Amendment No. 1 for the Southeast Quadrant Storm Water Master Plan with AECOM/URS, NTE
Stormwater Master Plan Amendment.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

18. Motion to Approve a Renewal Contract for Cityworks Annual Software Agreement, NTE.
Woolpert CityWorks agreement fully signed 9-7-2016.pdf
Savannah Hilton Head International Airport - Cityworks Maintenance (1).pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

19. Moton to Approve Professional Services Contract for Customer Service Survey with Unison Consulting.
RFP-for-Customer-Experience-Survey-Revised (1).pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

20. Motion to Approve Contract with Griffin Contracting, Inc. for Hotel Site Development – Stephen S. Green Drive (Event No. 5954)
Bid Documents - Hotel Site Development Stephen S. Green Drive -Source_Part1.pdf
Bid Documents - Hotel Site Development Stephen S. Green Drive -Source_Part2.pdf
Bid Documents - Hotel Site Development Stephen S. Green Drive -Source_Part3.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

Alderwoman Bell: And another thing, I would encourage our audience to watch the televised workshop this morning for a very comprehensive presentation that was done by the airport regarding capital expansions at the airport.

21. Motion to Approve Contract Amendment No. 1 for the Fire Assessment Fee Study with Environmental Planning Group (Event No. 4938)
Funding Verification.pdf
Purchasing Summary.pdf

Withdrawn by the City Manager

22. Motion to Procure Repair Construction Services at Bowles C. Ford Park from E&D Contracting (Event No. 5908)
Bid Tab.pdf
Funding Verification.pdf
Purchasing Summary.pdf

Alderman Johnson: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, members of Council, this is just an information item and information to the City Manager and staff. We're glad that this is a motion prepared to procure repair construction services at Bowles C. Ford Park, which is just adjacent to the Cloverdale community. This is a park that we've been working on for quite some time, it's been in disrepair. It's also the home of a retention pond that has had some issues, so I'm just glad to see that we are moving to address this. It's a walking area where we have a lot of seniors to get their morning walks in there and so I'm just glad to see this moving forward.

Approved upon motion of Alderman Johnson, seconded by Alderwoman Bell, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

23. Motion to Procure Gazebo and Picnic Tables from GameTime (Event No. 6176)
Funding Verification.pdf
Purchasing Summary.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

24. Motion to Procure Coliform Reagent from IDEXX Laboratories (Event No. 6124)
Funding Verification Form.pdf
Purchasing Summary.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

25. Motion to Procure Ultraviolet Disinfection (UV) Equipment from Templeton and Associates (Event No. 6177)
Funding Verification Form.pdf
Purchasing Summary Event No. 6177.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

26. Motion to Renew Annual Contract for Evidence.com Licenses from Taser International (Event No. 6183)
Sole Source Memo - Body Cameras and Tasers.pdf
Evidence.Com Funding Verification.pdf
Purchasing Summary.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Miller, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

27. Motion to Settle Workers' Compensation Claim

Attorney Stillwell: Mr. Mayor, we have a settlement of a workers' compensation claim by Azzezah Sharif. Ms. Sharif, a former SARIC analyst with the Savannah Police Department, sustained injuries in her right ankle in connection with her job duties.  The claim was settled for $65,000, subject to Council approval.  City Attorney recommends approval.

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Thomas, and unanimously carried per the City Attorney's recommendation.

28. Motion to Approve a Major Subdivision, Spring Lakes Phase 5
Merged Master Plan

Alderman Johnson: I just feel compelled and we've talked about this already. The Highlands is growing and this is just proof positive. But hopefully we’re making progress and making sure we bring the parties together to talk about how to manage this growth from these mutually exclusive entities that all have an interest out there. We have to manage this growth in relation to the traffic or it is just going to be a bigger disaster than what it is right now.

Approved upon motion of Alderman Johnson, seconded by Alderwoman Shabazz, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

29. Motion to Approve the corrected Final Minutes for the City Council Meeting of March 1, 2018
03.01.18 Minutes.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderwoman Shabazz, and unanimously carried.

30. Motion to Direct the City Manager to Modify the 2018 Revenue Ordinance, Article L - Fire Services Fee; and Sec. 3-2096, Article H, the Fire Services Utility Ordinance
Fire Services Special Revenue Fund Ordinance.pdf

Mayor DeLoach: Those that have heard that, this is basically what I was speaking on yesterday evening. Basically what it does is ask us to modify what we had basically laid out originally as far as the budget was concerned. So, we're just asking the City Manager to go back and modify the numbers and bring us something forward that people can feel better about than they do about what we put in for them at present time.

Alderman Johnson: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, although I was totally and absolutely blindsided by the press conference, I wanted to commend you because I think it takes a lot of chutzpah, as they say, to do what you did. That meaning, getting up and admitting that a course of action that you thought was prudent at the time was probably not the best thing. I mean I know it was hard for you, I could tell that it was certainly not easy. But we've been saying this since November of last year that this was not a good idea at the time, we were not ready, and we were moving too fast. We've heard from all segments of this community. We've heard from those that are affluent, and those who are not as affluent. We've heard from people on fixed incomes, we've heard from nonprofits, and religious organizations, all of them were saying that this fire fee, although maybe alright to consider was just too fast to implement at the time. So, when we came back after we voted against it and voted against the budget, a couple of us did, and had the surplus and we again proposed it and the majority of Council decided to go on with it. Obviously there was some business survey in which it was really exemplified of how unpopular it was. So, I appreciate you at least putting forth the idea that maybe it could be a good idea, just maybe the wrong time, but at least acknowledging that. So, I appreciate that. On the other end, I am concerned that on one end you laid out a plan by which to deal with the issue and then we're directing the City Manager to come up with options. And my problem with it is this, if our City Manager is the quarterback on the field and we tell him where we want to be, we tell him where to provide options, I think even in your giving an option, it was reported as being something that the City was going to do. And I heard that, you know, cutting 5% of our workforce, we've already cut about 123 positions during this last budget. I think that we have a bunch of employees, 5% we're talking about maybe upwards about 100 employees. So, when you say it, people will take that as being, that's what the City is going to do. And so we have employees that now have gone through all of these rocky and turbulent times that at the end of the year we said now we're on easier sailing roads and now they are in turmoil again. I just think, you know, it cuts the legs out from under the City Manager. I think it puts all of us in a really bad position. So, I just want to make sure about that, which you are offering was just something that was in your mind. I don't know what you might discuss with other Council members and you know I just wanted to make sure what it is we're asking the City Manager to do, because you know cutting 5% of our positions I think is a difficult thing. The other thing is you know severe cutting of services, we're victimizing people already by a fire fee and then we're going to cut services more. So, I just, my question to you is in all sincerity I just want to make sure that we're very clear on what we're asking the City Manager to do and that we're giving him the authority as we have given it to him to be able to come up with those options and that we're not coming up with those options because in the next two weeks or so it's going to be a very difficult time for our employees who are out here wondering whether or not they are going to have a job in two weeks.

Alderman Miller: Mr. Mayor, I understand what the Alderman is saying, but it is the job of this Council to decide where we're trying to get and it’s staff's job to try to get us there. So, I don't have the kind of concerns that the Alderman has. I think what was laid out was a good plan. I liked hearing it. I think it's important that we did listen to an overwhelming number of people who came forward to us. Some supported it and some didn't exactly like it the way it was and a large number of people were just totally against it. I think it's important that we listened to those people. I think it's important that we direct the City Manager and the staff in a direction we need them to go and then leave it up to the City Manager to figure out how we're going to get there. The cuts that we're making, they're going to be painful, but they would have been even more painful had we not done this, we would have a lot more cuts. So, while I hate to do it, by the same token our public demands from us a fiscal responsibility and I think that's what we're showing here. I think it's a good plan as I understand, we've asked the City Manager to come back with his plan at our budget workshop on June 18th where we will have a special call meeting and determine what we're going to do with this and I move that we approve.

The motion was seconded by Alderman Durrence, understanding there was further discussion.

Alderwoman Shabazz: Thank you Mr. Mayor, I need to be clear on this item number 30. This item number 30 pertains to the press conference that you had yesterday. So, as my understanding and the bits and pieces that I've seen of the press conference, we're talking about cutting the fire fee that the majority of you all approved from the $256 costs for residents, cutting that in half. And I don't know anything about what you all are doing with the businesses in reference to the fire fee. You also mentioned something yesterday in your press conference about a 5% cut of the employees of the City of Savannah and also the removal of all non-essential capital projects. Am I on the same page that you all are on with this?

Mayor DeLoach: You're correct. That’s some of the options that have to be on the table and we just put them out there and let the City Manager decide what those might be. I didn't want to make that call. I wanted to have somebody that knows…

Alderwoman Shabazz: Is this something that, are you all getting ready to vote on this?

Mayor DeLoach: No, that's going to be June 18th.

Attorney Stillwell: If I can clarify that, the motion as I understand it, that's on the floor, is to direct the City Manager to come back with a plan that would be presented on the 16th. It's not to adopt any particular plan.  The 18th excuse me.

Alderman Johnson: I guess my concern is that we gave a plan, the Mayor said a plan and then we're saying come back with a plan. So, I just want to know what it is we're talking about.

Alderman Thomas: Point of order here.

Alderwoman Shabazz: I'm still on the floor, and that is where I am. Those items that I heard yesterday and those items that you said that I'm currently speaking on is this plan that was directed by you on yesterday for the City Manager to make these three items and changing. So, I'm totally confused now about what seemed like there's a plan already out there and you all are saying that the City Manager is supposed to come back with something else. It seems like all this is totally confusing, and you know I think we should have had the City Manager on board with all of this before anything was announced. So, I'm just on the sideline of this and…

Mayor DeLoach: That'll be fine.

Alderwoman Shabazz: But you will definitely have the voices of my constituency. Excuse me, Mr. Mayor, if you can just let me finish thank you. I will surely have the voices of my constituency on the table in reference to what is going on here. Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

Alderman Thomas: I want to echo a few comments that have been made. First, I'm going to echo Alderman Johnson's comment. It does take courage to stand in front of a mic and to say maybe you had to rethink your decision, which I think is kind of what I heard yesterday and that took a lot of courage and I applaud you. There’s a lot of leaders who can't or won't do that. But what we're talking about is a fire fee, and at the end of the day if we have a 100% fire fee or a 50% fire fee or a 30% fire fee, it's still a fire fee. So, now we're just talking numbers, and so we need to get that out. I do think we're being a little unfair to our City Manager. I think we, you yesterday outlined a plan to reach this number that you presented, but I don't know if the City Manager truly has analyzed that plan to see if we could reach that number. And I don't know either what other options are completely out there. I am a staunch opponent to this fire fee. I want to see if there is some form of a fire fee, whether what level is going to be passed upon citizens that at least we have a hardship program in place, and we make it easy for them to apply for any discounts that would be out there. But at the same time I want us to think about a few things. In April we all sat on this dais and a plan was presented to use part of the surplus to lower the fire fee at that time, which was rejected. We actually even put a motion out to repeal the fire fee, which was rejected. We could've asked for options at that time, but we didn't. I know that we all had the community meetings throughout the City in every district, and then last week the pastors chimed or the week before and then the TLC and the Chamber of Commerce released their survey numbers that so much of their membership was opposed to the fire fee. All that is said to say this, no matter what percentage we settle on up here, I don't believe it'll be a nine to zero vote of this Council. I could be wrong, but whatever percentage, we're still talking about passing on an additional fee to the taxpayers of this community at some level, and that is painful but to some folks they think it's necessary to others they don't. Now I will say that in all of this, I think that the person that is getting mistreated and thrown under the bus here is the City Manager because he presented this horrible plan, which is my opinion. It was endorsed by a majority of the Council, which is a democratic process, but at the same time we're going back and double guessing him now, we're saying no, we've adopted your plan, but the public didn't like it now this is our plan, now we want you to come back with options against the plan that you already presented. So, it's really starting to take us back to the initial discussion about the fire fee. So, I want us to remember that you know, the City Manager if he comes back with options and some of your plan is really vague and that non-essential capital projects, are we going to take non-essential capital projects out of the people who support this plan or the people who don't support the plan. That's what we have to be careful about is that we don't start to play the politics with any kind of plan that comes back. I think it's unfair to ask the City Manager to make that decision because that becomes quite political when you start talking about whose project gets cut and whose doesn’t, because we all have projects. Each of us has projects in our districts and probably some of them could be put on hold if they had to be, but at the same time are we going to share in the pain like we're asking our public, or we going to penalize those who quite frankly don't support this fee? So, before we move forward I want to make sure that we are directing the City Manager to come back with recommendations that may be different from the plan you outlined in yesterday's press conference. And I put that in the form of a question Mr. Mayor to you, is that what this motion is about?

Mayor DeLoach: It’s not. After we get through I thought we’d let him talk and then we'll, I'll have…

Alderman Thomas: Well, you said it's not.

Mayor DeLoach: No, I meant what I said at that news conference was just basically throughout you know, areas that I thought we could look at to determine how to get there. I basically said this is the revenue, you figure out how we get there and that's all, that's what I was putting out on the table. I knew based on the fact that we were cutting it in half, there was no way we were going to be at the same level of service. So, I didn't want to be the one, he would know how to do that better than I would because he does the day to day operations. So, I left it to him to make that decision. I just gave him based on if we had a majority of the votes, we will have x amount of revenue and with that revenue I need you to figure out how we can get there and what we need to take out so that we can get there, and that's all it is.

Alderman Johnson: It was an opinion, not a directive?

Mayor DeLoach: There was no plan. It was a direct just saying, I just listed some things that I thought we ought to all look at if we had a need to look at them.

Alderman Thomas: I can accept that, but it came across as this was your plan in order for us to move forward and I just can't agree absolutely wth everything that I heard.

Alderman Johnson: And it was reported that way as well.

Mayor DeLoach: Let me clarify for you Tony, I put a directive out there just saying you know, this is a revenue based on us cutting this fire fee, this is the revenue we have to work with, City Manager I need you to figure out how we can get there. Here's some ideas I thought of, but that being said the game's over, it's all on the table is my point.

Alderman Thomas: That clarifies it for me because now he has the option to look at the different avenues that he thinks he can get there.

Mayor DeLoach: Let me let this gentleman speak. He's been here all day.

Rick Ellison, R.U.F.F, president (Retirees Unite for the Future): Thank you Mayor and thank you Council. I'm Rick Ellison, a president of R.U.F.F. (Retirees Unite for the Future.) I happened to have been at the Board of Education and I spoke to that Board. I understand they have levied a tax or a fee I don't know the particulars of that and I appreciate what the Mayor has done that is going to lower this, but we're getting killed by the taxes from the Board of Education and from the fire fee and the parking downtown. It’s just you know, Savannah's going to hell in a hand basket. But we have, I love Savannah, I really do and that's why I'm speaking out. I really want clarification and I appreciate what you're going to do. I just want you to know that we already have the limited budget that we're on as seniors. We already have the taxes or whatever it's called from the Board of Education and that's going to be a pretty stiff hit for us. And then of course the fire fee is a major concern and I want to speak out, but thank you. I didn't want to take your time, but thank you.

Alderwoman Bell: So, basically all I wanted to say was that for the record, the public needs to know and the Council needs to know that the announcement at the press conference that was delivered on yesterday represents the Mayor's plan. That is the Mayor’s plan, that is not the Council's plan. The reason we're coming together on next week, as I understand it, basically it's to determine, okay, this is our revenue, these are expenses at a certain level. If we want to change that, then I think all Council has to approve, he has one vote, so Council has to approve whether or not we go one with the fire fee, whether or not we go with it cut in half, and what kinds of revenues will have to be generated to support the expenses that we all agree that one of the Alderman talked about specific projects being cut out. If we have a certain spending level than everybody knows that we have to have an equal revenue level. So, that's for the Council, the nine of us to decide and I just completely reiterate that, that was not Carol Bell’s plan, that was not any of the others plan, but that was the Mayor’s plan and we get to weigh in on next week when we come together.

Alderman Miller: I want to respond to Mr. Ellison. Mr. Ellison, I'm sure you know that we have several different taxing authorities here. The County taxes all County residents for funds it needs to run the County, School Board taxes the public or property owners for what it needs to run the schools, the City taxes its constituents for what it needs to run the City. The City has not been increasing its taxes. The School Board and the County have found the need to do so. We have to have the amount of money we need to run this City, expenses are going up, they've gone up for every one of us as I'm sure they've gone up at your house. They go up for what the City has to do as well, there are things that have not been done for quite some time. Infrastructure, streets, and sidewalks, we've named them all. The biggest thing of course was crime at which we gotten on top of. We have to have the money to do that. The fire fee you said is going to hell in a hand basket, I disagree with that. We're trying to spread the cost of running the City over more than just those properties that pay taxes, but to others as well. Now the fact that we looked at it and said, well maybe we came on a little strong, we need to back up, does not remove the need so we do need to move forward with that. It's important that everyone understand and there's also another one in their CAT, Chatham Area Transit, for those areas that are served by CAT, you also get a tax for that too, to cover what they need to run the bus lines. So, we're doing what we need to do, but we cannot allow the City to deteriorate. We've got to move forward and that was the purpose for bringing all this up.

Alderman Foster: Mr. Mayor, I just want to make some comments and I agree with what was said. We're going to go through this in the budget process on the 18th. I heard some things yesterday I hadn't heard, so we’ve got a lot to think about. But I do want to make some points. When we came into office, when I came in on this Council two and a half years ago, it was to address the murder rate and the crime rate in this City and that was what I said I was going to do and I said we were going to try to do it as fiscally responsible as possible. During the last two and a half years, we have increased the amount of money we're spending on police officers by over $12 million in this community. We’ve put 120 plus police officers, patrol officers out there and the homicide rate, which was 53 murders in 2015, today is 8, and that cost $12 million. If we go with the revenue being flat with no fire fee, no property tax increase, we can't pay those police officers, we can't do it. Now I'm a retiree, I've lived downtown for 15 years and during that time my taxes have gone up 40% and not one nickel has been to the City of Savannah. It’s been to Chatham County which has increased my taxes by 20%, and the School Board which has increased to more than that and now School Board’s talking about another 16% increase on top of that. And I look at all those monuments they’ve built out there and I'll be honest you, I'm not happy about that. So, I'm just telling you that the City of Savannah has lowered its taxes, it's increased its services, and increased its public safety and we did what you asked us to do. The Mayor has suggested that you pay $8 a month in fire fees after a discount for those police officers. That’s all he’s asked. So, Mr. Johnson's proposal when he said he was against the fire fee, he said well we should look at a four mill increase in property tax. Well that's a 33% percent increase in our property tax. People who don't pay property taxes today, you'll be paying property taxes under that plan. So, his plan was not very good and so we're trying to come up with something that will work and that's what we're going to work on the 18th. But I just want to make it pretty clear that as a taxpayer, I'm a very unhappy person. I will not support any property tax increases by the City, they're high enough. There are other options out there that we've got to look at and we've got to understand that we've got to pay for these services and we're doing what you ask us to do. Thank you.

Alderman Johnson: Mr. Foster, Mr. Johnson also gave a variety of other things you could consider before you considered the fire fee that was to include millage rate increases. I mean, let’s not forget where we were with this. It was made very clear to us on a dissenting side that you had the votes to make it happen, it was going to happen. We remind you that we are connected, interdependent on governments and entities within this community. We do not operate in a vacuum. We warned you that this would be unpopular, we warned you that this would impact poor folks, we warned you this would impact folks on fixed incomes, we warned you that non-profits would cut services, we warned you that other governments would raise taxes, and when we said it, I believe it was you Mr. Foster, that said, no they won't. Well guess what's happening. The School Board is raising their taxes and I mean it's not our fault but they're going to blame it on us. I think we've been here for a little longer for a reason. We understand when you do things it reverberates throughout this community. So, I'm just saying we're in, the fact is maybe yes we got more police officers, but we've also cut social services to non-profits to provide those things. I submit to you that I'll say it again today that you can't arrest your way out of a problem. It wasn't more police officers that stopped crime, its people that stopped crime because the community was sick and tired of it. So, all I'm saying is, I guess getting back to our point for being here, Mr. Mayor and I appreciate you making it clear that what I think I heard you say and Alderwoman Bell has said it as well, that what you were giving was your opinion of a variety of ways as I gave my opinion that we should have taken the $10 million and put that toward the fire fee. Is that we're saying we're not necessarily cutting positions, we're not necessarily doing anything. We're giving the ball to our quarterback and we're saying come up with some options and let us know. Correct?

Alderman Miller: You said a lot of things Mr. Johnson, but a lot of things you say you want to be perfectly clear, but you're not necessarily perfectly clear on. If we put that kind of a tax increase on you have a lot of people in your district who don't pay property taxes right now because the valuation of their house at the rate we have now is so low it's not worth it to send the tax bill out. We come up with a kind of tax increase we would have to cover all this to do the things we have to do. It will then put them into the position where they will be getting a tax bill and be a lot higher than what the fire fee is. I don't think you're thinking about that.

Alderman Johnson: Well, I am thinking about it, but you keep in mind I represent people that are exempt from taxes because many people are renters, they don't have homes in which to tax. Their rates have been raised.

Mayor DeLoach: Y'all can talk about this when it's over, but let me just tie this together and wrap it up. Basically we're going to have a vote here to do this. We'll go forward with this and we'll meet on the 18th and we'll tie it all together and we'll come up with an overall plan. But it will be some cuts to be made. The one thing I can say, we have a plan. There is no other plan that's been presented to this board. We can put together a plan if everybody will work together and we get this done. We've got to get it done. We’ve got to print the millage on the 21st or we got to set the millage so everybody can beat their chest and talk.

Alderman Johnson: For the record, I will not be in town on the 18th, so I'm just asking whatever y'all do, it be no vote taken on that day.

Mayor DeLoach: I'm sorry about that, unfortunately that was the date that was set.

Alderman Johnson: I understand that but other Council members have been absent and y'all have not taken votes at the request of other Council members, so I'm just asking that you give me the same courtesy that you give other Council members.

Alderwoman Shabazz: I thought the 18th is for the retreat, not voting.

Alderman Johnson: But they're trying to plan to take a vote, come out of.

Mayor DeLoach: It’s to come out of there to set the millage on the 21st. We're not voting on that millage or anything on 18th.

Alderman Thomas: We're not taking any votes, right?

Mayor DeLoach: We're going to do like a workshop vote that says we have a consensus, and we agree that we're going to move in this direction.

Alderman Johnson: That's what I understood, but what I heard was it might've been a special meeting called in which Council can take a vote, so I want to make sure we're very clear about that because as long as we take the vote on the 21st, I'll be back in time for that. But at that retreat, if it's going to be a special meeting or not, a special meeting I need to know that.

Mayor DeLoach: It’s a retreat that we had all planned.

Alderman Johnson: Right, but it's not a special call meeting, which is a difference.

Mayor DeLoach: No, it’s a retreat like we originally planned.

Alderwoman Bell: The City Manager did ask that and I guess this question is to Alderman Johnson. He did ask before we came into general session that we change it to a special called meeting, so we could…

Alderman Johnson: That's why I'm raising that issue.

Alderwoman Bell: Okay, so you're saying that if I'm hearing you correctly, you're not going to be here and would you have an opportunity to submit your plan for what you'd like to see done so we can take that into consideration when we are together?

Alderman Johnson: I want to be present to vote.

Alderwoman Bell: No, no, no, not for the vote, listen to my question. My question is if you have some input relative to an option to the fire fee, could you submit it to the City Manager prior to the 18th so it can be considered when we're discussing having our deliberations.

Alderman Johnson: But that's not the point. The reason why it's called a special meeting...

Alderwoman Bell: I understand all that but you just let us know that you weren't going to be there, so we will not vote is what you’re asking.

Alderman Johnson: Then it's not a special meeting.

Alderwoman Bell: Well as far as I'm concerned we don't have to change it to a special call meeting because that was the purpose so we could vote.

City Manager Hernandez: Thank you Mr. Mayor, members of City Council, I just would like to make a few points. First I'd like to address for the public's benefit the issue of the use of the surplus funds to buy down the fire fee because I know there's been much written in the newspapers and it's been mentioned here twice before. It is never prudent to use one time dollars for ongoing operating expenses. That's what we would be doing here with the fire fee. That is why when you voted on the surplus funds, I did not recommend using any of it for any recurring costs of any type. You could however direct me to do that, but I would highly recommend against that. It is not key with financial best practices and it will come back to bite us at some point in the future. Number two, I need you to be very clear for me and the rest of staff on what the rules of engagement exactly are in bringing you options and recommendations because I think I'm hearing one thing and then I think I hear another. I think what I'm hearing is that you'd like for me to present options on how to lower the fee from $256 per billing unit, that's important because we charge by billing unit. $256 per billing unit to $120. If that's the case, I have to make up $11.2 million of revenue this fiscal year. Let me remind you that we already are halfway through this fiscal year. So, I need you to clarify what's in play, what's not in play.  Because I can bring you, if you're telling me its $120 and that's your, you're looking for that hard number I appreciate that because I could bring you anything from between $120 and $256 and we can be at this for the next two and a half weeks, 24 hours a day to come up with thousands and thousands of alternatives for you to consider. But what I need you to do is narrow it down for me. So, if it's $120, that's what I need to hear. Tell me what else is in play or is the only objective, the only direction you're giving me is bring us back a plan that gets us to $120 and it's up to staff to put that plan together. Or does that plan have to include some of the things that we've talked about here to include rolling back or retaining the millage rate for this year. Because keep in mind when you adopted the budget, this City Council continued the trend of previous City Council’s in that any opportunity you have to roll back the millage rate, you take advantage of that opportunity and you did that in 2018. So, you proposed a millage rollback from 12.48 mills to 11.48 mills. I need to know is that still in play? So, anyway, I would appreciate you being crystal clear to me on what you would consider to help me frame the recommendations that you want me to bring back on the 18th. I think I've heard loud and clear now that you don't want a special call meeting on the 18th, that you want, it will just be a regular retreat workshop and then we'll bring back on the 21st for a vote. Thank you.

Alderman Durrence: Speaking just for myself, what I would like to see at that meeting, well my first question is if we look at options at that meeting, are we still going to be able to deal with the decisions we need to make in time to approve the millage rate on the 21st? If we have to make decisions about spending can we do those on the 21st as well, just prior?

City Manager Hernandez: You'll have to do it on the 21st and if we can't do it on the 21st then we're going to have to call a special call meeting because by law you have to adopt an advertised millage rate by June 30th.

Alderman Durrence: Okay, well back to my original, speaking for myself, what I would like to see at that retreat is assuming and maybe other people have other numbers that they'd like to work with, but the number I'd like to see you try to work with is $120 fire fee as that base unit price. And then for the $11 million and I would like to make sure that we're also looking at maintaining the one mill reduction because I think we need to do everything we can to pull that millage rate down, and then everywhere you can find, and I'm not looking for you to offer me a list of $11.2 million I would like to see a list that might be $15 or $18 million that we can work from that would be the way we could find that revenue. That's what I'd like to see.

Alderwoman Bell: I missed that Bill and I want to be clear on what you’re asking for.

Alderman Durrence: Well what I'm asking for is options but based on the $120 annual rate options to make up the revenue. I would prefer to see something that isn't… if we need to find $11.2 million, I don't want to see a list for $11.2 million, I want to see a list for more than that so that we can make some decisions.

Mayor DeLoach: We've got a revenue stream that we're talking about, a $120 with a mill decrease, whatever that number comes to that's what I put out there, I don't know what anybody else has come up with, but that was the one that was suggested by me for the Council to look at yesterday on the… 

Alderman Thomas: Mr. City Manager, I'd like to see if you do stick with that $120 ceiling, the impact on a house that’s $50,000, on a house at $150,000, and on a house at $350,000 with the mill figured in there. And I want to see a house figured at $1 million.

City Manager Hernandez: Not a problem. We have that.

Alderwoman Bell: So, my last thing is Mr. Manager, I'd like to see an option to be no fire fee period and then let us determine, us as a Council, view that as an option and then determine what we want to cut. No fire fee and how much revenue we have to make up if we have no fire fee. Let's take that off the table altogether and as a Council let us determine if that's the way we want to go because then we're in the position of having to determine what cuts we have to make.

Alderman Miller: One thing I think we need to make sure is in there is the discount program, in my mind has to remain. We've already had people who have applied for the discount program and the discount program would take a $120 down to $96, which is the $8 that the Mayor was talking about. I don't think we can remove that discount program, I think it has to stay in there.

Alderman Johnson: So, the 120 number that was the number proposed by the Mayor? Is that the number we're proceeding to go by? Is that what consensus is? I mean, I don't know I'm just asking. So, I guess my question would be, was it being proposed to cut the fire fee for FY18 or this is in perpetuity? Because I think that's the question, are we doing it for just this year?

City Manager Hernandez: I'm operating under the assumption that this is in perpetuity because the swing would be just too…

Alderman Johnson: That's what I was saying. I mean, it doesn't make sense if you do it then next year we're right back to where we were. So we're talking about permanency?

[City Manager Hernandez agreed]

Alderwoman Shabazz: Thank you Mr. Mayor, in reference to City employees and in your statement of cutting 5% of the current employees of the City of Savannah, I am not in favor of folks losing their jobs. There's been enough cuts around here, enough changes that has taken place, so I wanted to make that statement from me that I don't want to see people out of work and not have jobs. Now the subject and I'm going to say it just one more soft time, the subject of the fire fee for me is totally irrelevant because my stance is that I'm still opposing a fire fee. Thank you Mr. Mayor.

Alderman Durrence: Two points, I'm happy to see the numbers without a fire fee, but I think we need to keep in mind that one of the reasons for this was an equity issue. We've got 5,800 properties in the City that pay no property taxes yet benefit from the fire service we have. This is a very specific service delivered to each piece of property in the community as needed, the same as water service is provided and everybody pays for water service. So, I think when we start talking about not doing the fire fee, we're walking away from one of the primary reasons we talked about to start with and that’s the equity issue of everybody contributing toward the cost of this service. The one other comment I would like to make is just a little caution and some of the language we're using here, I would suggest we not talk about anything in perpetuity because things change. What we were anticipating in the original discussions of the fire fee was including a certain amount of revenue that would be set aside as a stabilization fund so that we could equalize any fluctuations over five years. So, I think as we talk about this, we need to keep that five year horizon let's not be projecting too far out and bite off more than we can chew.

City Manager Hernandez: And if I can just make another statement. I guess let me ask Alderman Durrence a question and hopefully he can help me through this issue because I have a little bit of discomfort with his prior request that I provide a list of $15 million or so, and I don't necessarily have an issue doing that, but I'm a little uncomfortable in providing you a list that is so detailed that it is getting the City Council involved in the operational decisions. I need to caution you that your role is policy and I don't want you playing the role of telling me how many copiers we should have or you know things of that nature. So I'm happy to provide you as much detail as you need Alderman Durrence…

Alderman Durrence: I take your point and I don't mean to get into that level of it. I guess my broader concept was just if we're going to ask you to come up with $11.2 million if that turns out to be the number in revenue reduction, I think most of us would be comfortable having some in broad strokes, some conversation about what that $11.2 million might be. I'm not asking for, you know whether we buy one more vehicle or two more vehicles for something, nothing like that. So much as just very broad strokes. And you know, I think we're all, I mean I'll take Alderman Thomas's point earlier I think we're all going to have to take a hit on this if we're going to reduce spending by that much, especially you made an important point that I hadn't thought of before, we're halfway through the year already, so that gives us six months to come up with that money not twelve in reducing that spending, that's going to be a critical thing as well. I think just broadly the kinds of things when we did the budget hearing last year, you gave us a list of things and you were not I believe, as I remember, I felt like you were recommending the fire fee, but you were not twisting anybody's arms so much as you were just saying, okay, with it we generate $21 million and with that is $21 million that we don't have to spend from the general fund, we can do these other things and we had a list of a number of items that are the kinds of things that people have been asking for us to do, cut the grass more frequently I mean things like that that everybody wants. In my district, it's to get to phase two of the Waters Avenue beautification project, and we needed an extra $500,000 to be able to do that. Well, that revenue that we were going to generate with the fire fee was going to allow us to do that list of things. Well, I think we're going to have to look at that list again and everybody's going to have to recognize if we’re not going to have the revenue we can't do some of those things. Some of them I know we're already committed to, so I mean some of that money has already been committed, and some of it is already spent. So, I guess I'm going to follow your lead on this, but I just felt like we might want a little bit of flexibility in where we find that money. That was my only intent.

Luciana Spracher, Acting Clerk of Council: So, you did have a motion already that was made by Alderman Miller, seconded by Alderman Johnson to bring this to the June 18th, the motion called it a special meeting but it’s not going to be a special meeting it’s going to be a retreat.

Alderman Johnson: I revise my second.

Approved upon motion of Alderman Miller, seconded by Alderman Durrence, and unanimously carried to bring back at the June 18, 2018 retreat. 

31. Motion to Approve Amended Intergovernmental Agreement with Chatham County Pertaining to the E-911 Center
IGA for E 911 Center.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderman Durrence, seconded by Alderwoman Bell, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation. Alderman Johnson recused himself from the vote as an employee of Chatham County.

32. Motion to Award Annual Contract to Procure and Install Police Vehicle Decals to West Chatham Warning Devices (Event No. 6048)
SPD Vehicle Decal Scope.pdf
SPD Vehicle Decal Purchasing Summary.pdf
Decal Police Interceptors Funding Verification.pdf
SPD Vehicle Decals Bid Tab.pdf

Approved upon motion of Alderwoman Bell, seconded by Alderman Durrence, and unanimously carried per the City Manager's recommendation.

33. Presentation of Resolution Honoring Savannah Police Officer Anthony Christie
Officer Anthony Christie Resolution.pdf

Resolution read by Mayor DeLoach [it was accepted by Assistant Chief Robert Gavin on behalf of the Christie family.]


Whereas:        Savannah Police Officer Anthony Christie died May 25, 2018 while assisting with traffic control at the site of an early morning crash on Interstate 16; and

Whereas:        Officer Christie dedicated his life to serving this nation and this community; and

Whereas:        Officer Christie served for 13 years in the United States Navy and then chose to continue his service by becoming a police officer at the Savannah Police Department, where he served faithfully for two years; and

Whereas:        During that time Officer Christie and others in his unit were awarded a Team Work Award for assisting in the search and rescue of a missing child abandoned in the woods by a robbery suspect; and

Whereas:        Officer Christie’s dedication and service to the safety of the public should be acknowledged and praised;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah celebrate the life of Officer Anthony Christie and offer our appreciation for his dedicated service and sacrifice to the Savannah community and our nation.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Officer Christie will be sadly missed by all of us who knew him as a member of the City of Savannah family; and that a copy of this resolution will be delivered to his family and made a part of the permanent records of the Savannah City Council meeting minutes of June 7, 2018.

SIGNED and SEALED June 7, 2018

Chief Gavin thanked the Mayor, Council and City Manager stating he spoke with Nicole Christie, wife of Officer Christie last night. She sent her regards and regrets that she could not be present. He stated she is very thankful to everyone who has reached out and for the overwhelming support that she has been receiving from both the City and the community. He concluded stating the Police Department and the Christie family appreciates it and he will be sure she receives a copy of the resolution.


Alderman Durrence: This morning the Georgia Historical Society posted or unveiled a new historical marker in the City, in Chatham Square, honoring Louis B. Toomer, a native son of Savannah and one with substantial financial accomplishments. Carver State Bank had led the charge on this and their Board of Directors had paid for Vaughnette Goode-Walker and Elyse Butler, from Georgia Historical Society, to do the work and put this together. This is certainly a long overdue celebration of Mr. Toomer’s contributions to the community and to the nation. And I'd like to just read the text as it is on the marker and encourage everybody to go by and take a look.

[Alderman Durrence read the following information from the historical marker]

Louis B. Toomer:

Founder of Carver State Bank

Louis Burke Toomer, African-American leader, local bank founder, and realtor, was born in Savannah in 1897. Raised and educated locally, Toomer established the Georgia Savings and Realty Corporation on February 23, 1927, in the historic black business district of West Broad Street. During segregation, the company provided banking, investment, and insurance services for blacks who were not always allowed access to white banking establishments. In 1947, the name of the corporation changed to The Carver Savings Bank, and it was converted to a state-supervised savings bank. It became The Carver State Bank in 1962. A staunch Republican who served as a delegate at three GOP conventions, Toomer was appointed Register of the Treasury (1953-1956) by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Toomer died in 1961 and a bronze sundial was erected in his honor in 1964 in Chatham Square.

The bronze sundial is still there and the marker is right across the street from that. And if Tony is celebrating the fact that Mr. Toomer was a Republican, I would like to remind you that that was before substantial changes in Republican and Democratic parties. Before Richard Nixon's southern strategy.

Alderman Johnson: Alderman Thomas is over here just giddy. I remind him that around that time most African Americans were Republicans. But Mr. Toomer would've been about 120 years old this year. And just during that ceremony Alderman Durrence was commended for his leadership and helping to make this happen. I knew he wouldn't say it himself, but I wanted to thank him for his leadership on this issue.

Mayor DeLoach: Tonight at 7:00 p.m. there will be a meeting of the alliance of churches. Pastors will be there at the Coastal Georgia Center over on MLK. They will be presenting a program that they feel like will help move our community forward and help with the crime statistics and the murder rate that we have in our community. So, if you have time to be there, they are presenting this program which is going to be similar to the MARC program that we're talking about with the City of Savannah and the other groups, but it's going to be basically faith oriented and I think it's going to be a great program long term.

Alderwoman Bell: On behalf of the Council, I would like to extend condolences to the family of Dr. Steven Agyekum, a retired professor of what was Armstrong State College at that time, but is now the Armstrong Campus of Georgia Southern. To his wife Vicky and to his family I'd like to extend condolences for a life well lived. He was a professor but also a wonderful photographer as well who came to this community several years ago. So to Vicky and the family, our heartfelt condolences are extended.

Alderman Johnson: I just wanted to thank the City Manager and the Police Department, we had a roll call in the streets in the West Savannah community. It’s the first time we had that back in a while, and I think it was a big hit, I’d like to see more of those. And we've been seeing horses in the 1st District, we like the horses and people don't run away from horses and so I would like it to continue. Thank you.

Alderwoman Shabazz: On Monday, June 11th I will be having a Town Hall meeting and I'm inviting the community to come out. This Town Hall meeting will be held at the Tatemville Golden Age and Neighborhood Community Center located at 333 Coleman Street. I will be discussing the fire fee application discount process due to the fact that there's much discussion, new discussion now, and hopefully the extension is still enacted. Also in reference to the hardship assistance program, we will be discussing that, public safety, and the code compliance on the yard parking ordinances. So, I'm inviting everyone to please come out that is on Monday, June 11th at 6:30 p.m. at the Tatemville Golden Age and Neighborhood Community Center located at 333 Coleman Street. Thank you.

There being no further business, Mayor DeLoach declared this meeting of Council adjourned.

The video recording of the Council meeting can be found by copying and pasting the below link in your url:


Luciana M. Spracher, Acting Clerk of Council
Agenda Plus