November 9, 2017 City Council Regular Meeting



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 Reverend Ronald Gregory.

1. Motion to Approve the Summary/Final Minutes of the City Council Meeting of October 26, 2017

Present Mayor Deloach, Alderman Thomas, Hall, Shabazz, Miller, Foster, Johnson, Bell, and Durrence.


Upon Motion of Alderman Johnson, Seconded by Alderman Thomas.

2. Motion to Approve the Summary/Final Minutes for the City Council Work Session of October 26, 2017

Upon Motion of Alderman Johnson, Seconded by Alderman Thomas and unanimously carried.  Approval was given to Items 1 and 2.  The summary and final minutes of City Council Meeting and the summary of final minutes of City Council Work Session of October 26, 2017.


Upon Motion of Alderman Bell, Seconded by Alderman Shabazz and unanimously carried.  Approval was given to authorize the Mayor to sign an affidavit for an executive session held today on litigation, personnel, and real estate where no votes were taken.


Attorney Stillwell recommended an amendment to the September 28, 2017 Minutes upon a request of Alderman Johnson. There was a mistake as to how you went into Executive Session.  They went back and reviewed the tape and this is how it should read.  "Upon motion of Alderman Johnson, Seconded by Alderman Durrence and unanimously carried.  Council went into Executive session to discuss litigation, personnel and real estate".  Alderman Johnson recused himself and returned following a brief discussion on personnel.


Upon Motion of Alderman Johnson, Seconded by Alderman Durrence.  The amendment carried.




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


At the meeting held on the 9th day of November 2017, the Council entered into a closed session for the purpose of discussing Personnel. Litigation, and Real Estate. 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: November 9, 2017 upon motion of  Alderman Bell, seconded by Alderman Shabazz, and unanimously carried.




An appearance by Terri O'Neil Executive Director of Savannah Philharmonic invited Council Members to the Philharmonic In the Streetz Event on Sunday November 19, 2017 from 1 to 4 pm at Greenbriar Children's Center.  Savannah Philharmonic is a 1.25 million dollar investment in the community.  Contributing to households, concerts, education, and community initiatives.  This project is mulitcultural and is free and open to the public.  they have partnered with Greenbriar's Childrens' Center, Five Neighborhood Associations and four schools.  This is a family friendly event where they will have ice cream and bbq.


Alderman Shabazz thanked her for this project and the 5th district is very excited to be the location for this concert.


Alderman Bell added that she is on the board of Savannah Philharmonic and she encourage council to come out on sunday afternoon to participate in this free concert that will include gospel and jazz.

3. Motion to Hear Request for Transfer of Beer and Wine (Package) License from Kari Wilcox to Dimpy Patel of VN2015, LLC t/a Montgomery Market
Density Map - Montgomey Market20171027_0032.pdf
Alcohol Documents - Montgomery Market20171031_0043.pdf

Withdrawn by Petitioner.

4. Motion to Approve Consumption Liquor, Beer and Wine (Drink) License with Sunday Sales for Charles H. Morris of Randolph Street Development, LLC t/a Kehoe Venues
Density Map - Kehoe Venues20171027_0033.pdf
Alcohol Documents -Kehoe Venues20171031_0045.pdf

It was announced at the beginning of this hearing the petitioner withdrew the request for liquor and now only request beer and wine drink with Sunday sells.


Mr. Shawntre Joseph Grant and Pastor Tony E Reddick of The New Shiloh Baptist Church at 661 East Broughton St appeared.  In reference to the issuing of this license as it was requesting alcohol close to their church. 


Mr. Heath Lloyd of the Revenue Dept stated that the distance requirements for alcohol only applied to schools and not churches.


Mr. Grant stated that their congregation is present today and they object to the license.  They only found out that the liquor license was withdrawn as they have not had communication with Mr. Morris about his building across the street from the church.  He also stated that they are concerned about traffic and parking and recently they couldn't get into their building because of the equipment being used to produce a movie.


Alderman Bell stated that she had gone to their event and she asked those blocking the doorway to move and when she couldn't get any positive response she called Mayor Deloach who was able to talk them into providing an entrance for the church members.


Pastor Tony E Reddick came forward and acknowledge Alderman Bell's intervention and that of Mayor Deloach but they feel like they need to meet with Mr. Morris and was asking for a continuance of the hearing so that they can have a meeting before council acted on this request.


Mr. Morris came forward and stated he has been working on this project for four years and he wanted to resolve it as he has invested allot into the project personally and financially.  He is willing to meet with the church to resolve any issues.


Upon motion of Alderman Johnson, Seconded by Alderman Shabazz.  This hearing was continued until November 21, 2017.

5. Motion to Approve Consumption on Premises Beer (Drink) License to Existing Consumption Off Premises Beer (Package) License to Jocelyn Piccolo for White Whale Craft Ales, LTD t/a White Whale Craft Ales
Density Map - White Whale Craft Ales20171027_0034.pdf
Alcohol Documents -White Whale Craft Ales20171031_0044.pdf

A motion was made by Alderman Johnson, Seconded By Alderman Durrence and unanimously carried to close the hearing. 


Alderman Johnson then moved for approval and this was Seconded by Alderman Miller and unanimously carried.

6. Motion to Approve Transfer Consumption on Premises Liquor, Beer and Wine License with Sunday Sales from Christopher Godfrey to Arthur Pickering, III of Savannah Charley, LLC t/a Sorry's Charlie's Oyster Bar Catering
Density Map - Sorry Charlie's Oyster Bar Catering20171027_0035.pdf
Alcohol Documents -Sorry Charlie's Oyster Bar20171031_0046.pdf

A motion was made by Alderman Johnson, Seconded By Alderman Bell and unanimously carried to close the hearing. 


Alderman Johnson then moved for approval and this was Seconded by Alderman Foster and unanimously carried.

7. Second Public Hearing to Receive Comments Concerning the City’s 2018-2022 Housing and Community Development Plan and 2018 One Year Action Plan
2018 One Year Action Plan_Ad_Sept-29-2017.pdf

No one appeared in reference to this hearing and upon motion of Alderman Bell, Seconded by Alderman Hall and unanimously carried.  The resolution which is Item 18 was approved.  See Resolutions.

8. Motion to Amend the Future Land Use Map Category for 2201 Beaumont Dr (Petitioner: Phillip McCorkle for Sherwin Robin and Brian Robin)
2201 Beaumont Drive Comp Plan Amendment 20170829 Planning Commission Recommendation 17-004963-CPA.pdf
2201 Beaumont Drive Comp Plan Amendment Draft Ordinance 17-004963-CPA.pdf
2201 Beaumont Drive Comp Plan Amendment Public Notice 17-004963-CPA.pdf
9. Motion to Rezone 2201 Beaumont Drive from PUD-M-8 to PUD-IS* and to Approve a General Development Plan (Petitioner: Phillip McCorkle for Sherwin Robin and Brian Robin)
2201 Beaumont Drive Rezoning 20170829 Planning Commission Recommendation 17-004804-ZA.pdf
2201 Beaumont Drive General Development Plan 17-004780-PLAN.pdf
2201 Beaumont Drive Rezoning Draft Ordinance 17-004804-ZA.pdf
2201 Beaumont Drive Rezoning Public Notice 17-004804-ZA.pdf

Alderman Miller stated that this was continued to allow for professional engineering involvement in the project of excavating the property.  He had spoken to someone at the Georgia Brownfield program and he had relayed to Mrs. Scott that he would make a motion to insure geological testing would be  apart of the action plan.


Mrs. Elizabeth Scott president of the Bacon Park Neighborhood Association and Mr.. Helmey a resident in the neighborhood came forward to still address their concerns as she spoke to the Environment Protection agency.  They indicated they did not hear from Alderman Miller on this project.


Alderman Miller stated that he spoke to Mr. Jason Machure of the Brownfield program which was recommended to him by Mrs. Scott and he felt no reason to hold up the approval of Item 8 and 9 as recommended by the MPC but he wanted to add an amendment to the motion as follows.  " Contingent upon the owner submitting an application to enroll the property in Georgia's Brownfield Program, obtaining approval of a Corrective Action Plan form the Georgia Environment Protection Division (EPD) and, after the cleanup is completed under the oversight of a Professional Engineer or Professional Geologist who would also compose the Corrective Action Plan and receiving EPD's concurrence with the Compliance Status Report". 


This was Seconded by Alderman Foster and unanimously carried.  A vote was taken to approve the amended recommendation upon motion of Alderman Miller, Seconded by Alderman Foster and carried with Mayor Deloach, Alderman Bell, Alderman Hall, Alderman Durrence, Alderman Shabazz, Alderman Foster, Alderman Miller voting in favor.  Alderman Thomas and Alderman Johnson voting against the motion.

10. Motion to Amend the Zoning Ordinance Regarding the Plant Riverside Sign District (Petitioner: Harold Yellin for SRD LLC (Kessler Collection))
Plant Riverside Sign District Text Amendment 20170926 Planning Commission Recommendation_17-004435-ZA.pdf
Plant Riverside Sign District Text Amendment Draft Ordinance_17-004435-ZA.pdf

Marcus Lotson of MPC outlined their recommendation.


Mrs. Artis Woods resident of Savannah regrets coming before council in reference to this 250 million dollar project by a native son and the architecture work that's being done by Christian Soteel but feels like the visually placement of these signs would be damaging to the historic district and river street because of their placement and their scale.  The MPC vote was 7 to approve with 1 No, 1 abstaining, and 6 absence.  The MPC staff recommended denial.  She felt that creating a separate sign district for this property is unfair and sets a precedent.


Alderman Durrence stated that he is concerned about the extra standards of a single sign district and roof top signs on river street.


Attorney Yellin stated he was here today with Mr. Kessler the owner and Mr. Solteel the architect to represent Plan Riverside.  This petition started 4 months ago at the Historic Review Board because of the uniqueness of this location scale and character the Historic Review Board gave feedback and clear direction to create a sign ordinance and then come back to them.  They have had meetings with the MPC, the Historic Review Board, and the MPC staff.  This begins the process of going back to the Historic Review Board for their sign planned approval.  The reason they require a separate sign district is because Plant River Street will have 14 structures, 35 usage on 4 acres of land.  They will have tenants but tenants will come and go as well as their signs.  They feel that it is necessary to have a sign ordinance that is predictable, seamless, and specific to their criteria affecting one place only.  Currently, there is a Broughton st sign ordinance, River Street sign ordinance, and a City Market sign ordinance and they have been in affect for years and creating a sign ordinance for Plan River Street makes sense.


Mr. Christian Solteel the architect presented a PowerPoint presentation demonstrating the historic prospective of various sign types that have been allowed in our city from painted signs on buildings to free standing roof top signs.


Alderman Miller stated he wanted to confirm that when this sign project starts rolling do we in the city have personnel for sign oversight.


City Manager Hernandez said Yes.  The enforcement will go through our Code Compliance department.  It is now divided between several departments but the Compliance department would become the overseer under the new organization plan.


Attorney Stillwell said this action today establishes the parameter of what can be installed and it goes back to the historic district board of review to review the plans of what the sign would look like.


Alderman Foster asked Mr. Lotson if this location was the single largest building in the downtown area.  Mr. Lotson said that it is the largest downtown scale and site of it's type and is located at the very end of River Street.  Alderman Foster stated that because of the location, this cannot occur again in that area.


Mr. Lotson stated that this new sign would oversee this area and would remove the provision of the historic district and factors walk sign ordinance.


Alderman Durrence asked a procedural question that if someone else wanted to do something similar in reference to a sign ordinance, how would they proceed.  Mr. Lotson stated they would have to come before the MPC then to council for a public hearing.


Upon motion of Alderman Durrence, Seconded by Alderman Foster and unanimously carried.  The public hearing was closed.


Upon motion of Alderman Johnson, Seconded By Alderman Thomas and unanimously carried.  The recommendation was approved.

11. Motion to Amend the Zoning Ordinance Regarding Public Notification Requirements (Petitioner: City of Savannah)
Article M Public Notification Text Amendment 20171010 Planning Commission Recommendation.pdf
Article M Public Notification Text Amendment Draft Ordinance_17-005211-ZA Revised 20171024.pdf

Mr. Lotson from MPC outlined this recommendation.  No one appeared in opposition and a motion was made by Alderman Foster, Seconded by Alderman Durrence and unanimously carried to close the hearing.


Alderman Durrence moved for approval of the MPC recommendation.  This was Seconded by Alderman Foster and unanimously carried.

12. Motion to Amend the Zoning Ordinance Regarding Residential Density (Petitioner: City of Savannah)
Residential Density Text Amendment 20171010 Planning Commission Recommendation.pdf
Residential Density Text Amendment Draft Ordinance _17-002807-ZA.pdf

Mr. Lotson of the MPC outlined this recommendation.


Mr. Kevin Klickenburg he said he wanted to thank the council and staff especially the zonin administrator on their work on this project.  We presently have an outdated zoning that prohibits affordable housing in the downtown area which is outdated.  The effort is to allow for these neighborhoods downtown and those along Forsyth Park that has various mix uses to be amended by this ordinance so that development can continue south of Forsyth Park for uses other than higher end housing.


Alderman Durrence moved to close the hearing.  This is Seconded by Alderman Miller and unanimously carried.


Alderman Durrence moved for approval of the MPC recommendation and it was Seconded by Alderman Bell and unanimously carried.

13. Motion to Approve Access Easement and Boundary Line Agreement (Petition 160425)
Access Esmt.pdf
Boundary Line Agmt.pdf
PINE FOREST TRACT 10-17-17.pdf

A motion to approve was made by Alderman Bell, Seconded by Alderman Miller and unanimously carried.

14. Motion to Establish Zoning for 0.88-Acre Parcel at Ogeechee Road and Chatham Parkway to be Annexed into the City (Petitioner, Akshar Holdings, LLC)
Akshar Holdings LLC - Petition.pdf
Akshar Holdings LLC Zoning Ordinance.pdf

First Reading, no action necessary.

15. Motion to Rezone 144 Drayton Street from RIP-A to RIP-B (Petitioner Harold Yellin for 480 Mall Boulevard, LLC)
144 Drayton St 20170926 Planning Commission Recommendation.pdf
144 Drayton St Draft Rezoning Ordinance.pdf

Upon motion of Alderman Bell, Seconded by Alderman Hall and unanimously carried.  The first reading considered the second and the ordinance placed upon its passage and passed.

16. Motion to Amend the Zoning Ordinance Regarding Review of New Construction and Exterior Work Visible From a Street or Lane (Petitioner: Planning Commission)
Sec. 8-3207 COA 20170926 Planning Commission Recommendation.pdf
Sec. 8-3207 COA Draft Text Amendment Ordinance.pdf

Upon motion of Alderman Bell, Seconded by Alderman Hall and unanimously carried.  The first reading considered the second and the ordinance placed upon its passage and passed.

17. Motion to Adopt Resolution Extending a 90-Day Moratorium for New Alcoholic Beverage Licenses on West Bay Street

Upon motion of Alderman Hall, Seconded by Alderman Shabazz and unanimously carried.  This item was approved.


Alderman Foster asked how long was the moratorium to be extended.  


Attorney Stillwell said he felt like this could be the last extension.

18. Motion to Approve a Resolution Adopting the City of Savannah 2018-2022 Housing and Community Development Plan and 2018 One Year Action Plan, and to Enter into Grant Agreements with Sub-recipients
Resolution.2018-2022 HCD Plan.2017 OYA Plan_Final.pdf
Housing and Community Development PLan Snapshot.pdf

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

19. Motion to Adopt Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Submit an Application for a 2018 Environmental Protection Agency Community-Wide Brownfield Assessment Grant

Upon motion of Alderman Hall, Seconded by Alderman Foster and unanimously carried.  This item was approved.

20. Motion to Renew an Annual Contract for City Uniform Rental with Cintas (Event No. 3636)
Uniform Rental Purchasing Summary.pdf
Uniform Rental Scope.pdf
Funding Verification-Uniform rentals.pdf
21. Motion to Renew License Agreement and Procure Additional Software from NeoGov (Event No. 5576)
NeoGov Funding Verification.pdf
NeoGov Purchasing Summary.pdf
22. Motion to Procure Palm Tree Replacement Planting Services from Turf Services Unlimited (Event No. 5444)
Palm Tree Scope.pdf
Palm Tree Bid Tab.pdf
Palm Tree Funding Verification.pdf
Palm Tree Purchasing Summary.pdf
23. Motion to Approve Annual Contract for Clamps and Sleeves to HD Supply Waterworks, Ltd (Event 5461)
Clamps Sleeves Funding Verification.pdf
Clamps Sleeves Scope of Work.pdf
Clamps Sleeves Purchasing Summary.pdf
Clamps Sleeves Bid Tab.pdf
24. Motion to Approve Contract Modification No. 2 for City Works Upgrade to Woolpert Inc.. (Event No. 1006)
City Works Funding Verification.pdf
City Works Purchasing Summary.pdf
25. Motion to Award Sole Source Procurement of Light Kits from PennGlobe Company (Event No. 5612)
Light Kits Funding Verification.pdf
Light Kits Purchasing Summary.pdf
26. Motion to Renew an Annual Contract for Meter Boxes and Lids Annual Contract with Consolidated Pipe and Supply Co (Event No. 4613)
Meter Boxes Funding Verification.pdf
Meter Boxes Purchasing Summary.pdf
Meter Boxes Scope.pdf
meter box and lid bid tab.pdf

Items 20-26 were approved upon motion of Alderman Bell, Seconded by Alderman Miller and unanimously carried.

27. Motion to Award Sole Source Procurement of Engineering Services for Relocation of Water Line from Thomas and Hutton (Event no. 5623)
Brampton Connector Purchasing Summary.pdf
Brampton Connector Funding Verification.pdf

Was withdrawn.

28. Motion to Renew Annual Contract for Street Repair and Resurfacing with Savannah River Utilities (Event No. 3013)
Street Repair Funding Verification.pdf
Street Repair Purchasing Summary.pdf
Street Repair Scope.pdf
Street Repair Bid Tab.pdf

Continued to November 21, 2017.

29. Motion to Renew Annual Contract for the Tree Root Damage Repair with Savannah River Utilities (Event No. 3072)
Tree Root Bid Tab.pdf
Tree Root Purchasing Summary.pdf
Tree Root Scope.pdf
Tree Root Funding Verification.pdf
30. Motion to Award Sole Source Procurement of Network Equipment and Installation from Layer 3 Communications (Event No. 5614)
Network Equipment Funding Verification.pdf
Network Equipment Purchasing Summary.pdf
31. Motion to Award Annual Contract for Multi-Function Copier Equipment to Automated Business Resources, Inc. (Event No. 5399)
Copier Equipment Scope.pdf
Copier Equipment Funding Verification.pdf
Copier Equipment Purchasing Summary.pdf
32. Motion to Award Annual Contract for Computer Hardware to New Century Systems (Event No. 5327)
Computer Hardware Funding Verification.pdf
Computer Hardware Purchasing Summary.pdf
Computer Hardware Scope.pdf
33. Notification of Emergency Procurement of Vehicle Repair Services from Williams Fire Apparatus (Event No. 5613)
Emergency Repair Funding Verification.pdf
Emergency Vehicle Repair Purchasing Summary.pdf
34. Motion to Procure Utility Body Trucks from J.C. Lewis Ford (Event No. 5541)
Utility Body Trucks Scope.pdf
Utility Body Trucks Bid Tab.pdf
Utility Body Trucks Funding Verification.pdf
Utility Body Trucks Purchasing Summary.pdf

Were approved upon motion of Alderman Bell, Seconded by Alderman Miller and unanimously carried.

35. Motion to Approve Water and Sewer Agreement for St. Joseph's Candler Emergency Department Expansion
St. Joseph's Candler ED Expansion.pdf
36. Motion to Approve Water and Sewer Agreement for Parker's Convenience Store
Parkers Convenience Store.pdf
37. Motion to Accept National Dislocated Worker Grant Award in the amount of $200,000.00.
Area 20 WIOA PY17 NDWG.pdf
38. Motion to Accept PY2017 Dislocated Worker Program Grant Funds in the Amount of $1,000,000.00
Area 20 FY16 DW Discretionary Award.pdf
39. Motion to Approve SPLOST 6 Agreement with Coastal Heritage Society
FINAL SPLOST 6 CONTRACT 10.27.2017.pdf

Were approved upon motion of Alderman Bell, Seconded by Alderman Miller and unanimously carried.

40. Motion to Approve Acquisition of Real Property Located at 214 Windsor Road
214 PSA.pdf
214 Windsor Exhibit.pdf

Upon motion of Alderman Thomas, Seconded by Alderman Shabazz.  This item was unanimously approved.

41. Motion to Award Sale of Real Property Located at 2115 Bull Street - Event #5481
2115 Bull Street Exhibit.pdf
2115 Bull Street Funding Verification.pdf
2115 Bull Street Purchasing Summary.pdf
2115 Bull Street Scope.pdf

Upon motion of Alderman Shabazz, Seconded by Alderman Hall and unanimously carried.

42. Motion to Reschedule the February 15, 2018 City Council Meeting Date Due to Savannah-Chatham Day Activities

Approve upon motion of Alderman Johnson, Seconded by Alderman Durrence and unanimously carried.

43. An Appearance by Terri O’Neil to Invite Council Members to the Philharmonic In The Streets Event

See presentations at the beginning of meeting.

44. Motion to Authorize the City Manager and City Attorney to Prepare a Fire Assessment Fee Proposal for Consideration by City Council

Mayor Deloach asked City Manager Hernandez for an overview of this proposal. City Manager Hernandez said today we are asking for direction and the authorization to staff to consider Fire Assessment Fees for the 2018 Budget. The proposal treats Fire Rescue as a utility such as water, sewer, and trash. Creating this fee gives us an opportunity to reduce certain actions and upgrade Fire safety. This fee would allow for discounts for those who eligible upon improving Fire safety on their property. In addition, the city is considering reducing the city mileage rate by 2 mills and phasing out the Freeport inventory tax in 2018, instead of the expected 3 years. Fire protection covers lives and people and not relied upon property taxes.


Alderman Miller asked the City Manager if this was permission to design a Fire fee process that would come back to council for final consideration.


City Manager Hernandez stated it's just a concept that needs to be designed and developed. The budget will come back to council with several other opportunities such as two public hearing 3 budget workshops.


Alderman Thomas asked the City Manager to propose an option for senior citizens discounts. He has been approached by many senior citizens who are on social security and fixed income and this will be a hardship for them.


City Manager Hernandez stated we can explore a separate program as Alderman Thomas proposed. The Fire fees must be equally assessed across the board for everyone but he will look at an alternate mechanism that has been done in other jurisdiction to address senior citizens.


Alderman Bell asked the City Attorney if there was an alternate plan of action to establish Fire service fees.


Attorney Stillwell stated a formula was presented by the consultants and the assessment must be uniformed not based on square footage of property but on low to high risk and it must be uniformed across the board.


Alderman Bell asked if only certain groups such as nonprofits and governmental agencies can be assessed.


Attorney Stillwell stated this would be very similar to water fees which are based on use.


Alderman Bell stated currently nonprofits do not pay anything for Fire services. She asked if there was another option we can use in assessing these fees.


Attorney Stillwell said No, but it was pointed out that churches could obtain discounts based on Fire protection education warehouses can install additional fire equipment and can have a fire brigade. These are some of the options that might provide discounts.


Alderman Bell stated she heard the presentation and again will be meeting with the consultants. She believes that this is too much at one time and that she prefers a phased in option. Although she understands the concept when we begin to look at the citizens that would be affected, it would be those who are unable to pay.


Alderman Johnson said that his thoughts on this have not changed. He commended the City Manager for bringing us options but his concerns in 52 days 60 employees will be losing their job around Thanksgiving and Christmas and this is not the way to treat people. This is something that should have been addressed long ago and he feel that this is too aggressive especially when 26% of our citizens are at the poverty level. They are least able to afford this fee. He believes that we should look at other options and because this is a monumental decision he's not convinced that the 18 million shortfalls is real. This type of action affects our partners of churches, nonprofits, and governmental agencies. He understands this is an enormous challenge but a major game changer and council need to be careful.


Mayor Deloach stated this was a part of the Strategic Plan and council had the opportunity early on to look at it. There are no other opportunities if we do not move 100% on this recommendation. It could be decided later on the fee structure whether it is 0 to 100. We have an option to adjust the fee. It is a tax increase because we are short of dollars to operate in the 2018 budget. The Fire department need to be taken out of the general fund so that they can go forward and operate with the funds from the Fire fees. If not, we are facing a 2 mill property tax increase. The Fire fund can be 31 to 49 million dollars. We are not saying what the rate would be but it is cruel not to move forward. Council must do the right thing and get off the fence and vote for this proposal so that we can have a solid cash flow to function as a government. We were elected to do the hard things and the gain is to the citizens of Savannah.


Alderman Shabazz stated that her thoughts have not changed since last Tuesday. She is not ready to move forward but wanted to express her support of the Fire department and the great job they do. She is here to represent certain folks in the city whose voices are silent, marginalized, or disenfranchised therefore she will be voting no of the passage of this recommendation. She also represents churches whose funding does not come from a budget but from people. She is 86% in favor of the recommendation but there is s 14% gray area that is not allowing her to move forward. She commended the staff on their hard work on the budget, but she felt like the city can come up with a few more options.


Mr. Paul Mosely stated he was here on behalf of the citizens of Savannah. He is a lifelong Savannahian and a former city employee. He understands the City Manager concerns, but felt that these fees would be passed on to those who can least afford to pay. If you are a property owner you would pass the fees on to those who rent from you. He believes the Fire department is running over budget which is payroll. These new Fire stations are built with SPLOST monies. An ISO1 or an IOS2 only gives him a $12.00 break on his insurance. Savannah does not have many structural fires. He witnessed many fire trucks helping with paramedic duties. As the mayor said, this is a tax increase and we need to look at why the fire department is running over budget before initiating these fees.


Timothy Mackey wanted to commend the City Manager and staff. He wanted to respond to a statement made by the Mayor that council has had meetings on this proposal but not the citizens who are affected by this proposed change. He asked that council have a town hall meeting and it be brought before the people. The perception is that something is being quickly studded and he reminded the council that when they ran for office they all used the word transparency. It works both ways, not just the council but those they represent. He asked the City Attorney, if a meeting would be held on the proposed charter amendment and will it come before council and the public.


City Attorney Stillwell he and the City Manager are being instructed to prepare the documents and the ordinance to set up this fund. The mechanism to set the rate will be determined during the budget process and it will come back to the council. The city can elect or not elect to initiate the fund after this process.


Mr. Mackey said he wanted to assure that the proposed charter amendment comes back to the public first.


Alderman Foster stated he wanted to echo the mayor and Mr. Mackey comments. There is no question that he ran on transparency and he would not vote today to implement a fee. This just gives us a tool along with many others to look at and he would closely review all the options when they go through the budget process. They were told that the $18 million dollar shortfall budget. He believes that's high but he will look at every option before any decisions are made.


Mayor Deloach stated we have had Strategic Plan and other meetings to discuss the need to review options to balance the budget. Everybody wants Fire and Police protection. They will try to be transparent in making the final decision.


Mr. Mackey stated that he wanted them to slow down the train and let the people be involved.


Alderman Shabazz asked the City Attorney to read the language in the staff report.


Attorney Stillwell stated it was part of the staff report but it's not what council is voting on today. He read the report.


Alderman Miller thanked Mr. Mackey and Mr. Mosely stating that this is the beginning of transparency and the recommendation today is just a tool. The request we get from citizens far exceed our revenue and everybody wants more and it is a challenge to provide. Lots can change before the final budget is adopted.


Mr. Mackey said that from the report that was read the study is execution and implementation. Alderman Miller said it's not.


Mr. Marco George of First African Baptist Church, the Baptist Center, and Berean Missionary Baptist Association stated that the community is not being informed and there is a conflict here in the report that was read. He asked if other options could be explored without changing the charter. The church community he serves do not have the number of parishioners they had in the past. Although, their building is quite large. They have a utility assistant fund and other services they provide and to pay these fees they may have to cut these services to the members.


Alderman Miller stated that the Fire department is one of the few things we can put a fee on. We are working on eliminating these funds from the general fund. The charter amendment is just a consideration in how we will provide services to the city in other areas such as crime, infrastructure, and recreation and we must options and plans to balance the budget.


Alderman Bell reiterated her recommendation of phasing in this fee and Alderman Thomas recommendation for a senior citizens discount.


City Manager said they will explore those options.


Alderman Thomas stated that he agreed we need to be very transparent. We must balance the budget in the next 52 days. There are many details that council do not understand or have considered. In all the years of being on council, he has never talked about a budget shortfall of 18 million dollars. He asked that something of this magnitude should have been brought to the council earlier in the year. He asked when will this come back to council to formulate a plan.


City Manager Hernandez said they are on target to present a draft budget to council on November 21st and schedule budget hearing November 30th, December 1st, and December 7th. He apologized for something as significant as this coming so late in the year. It's not the fault of the staff or the contractor. It was a tedious review process to identify thousands of parcels. 5,800 were not tracked by the Tax Assessor so it required physical work to recreate a record. Their original target was September. We still have time to implement or not implement this fee. It has been a tight Fiscal year with a variety of many other issues and we will do what we can to present a budget to council but our finances are imbalance and not sustainable into the future.


Alderman Miller made a motion to approve the City Manager recommendation, Seconded by Alderman Foster.


Alderman Thomas made a motion to amend that the options presented by himself and Alderman Bell on a senior citizens discount and a phased in process be included. This was Seconded by Alderman Bell and unanimously carried.


Alderman Miller moved to approve the amendment motion.


City Manager Hernandez that council is not adopting a fee.


A vote was taken on the motion and it carried with Mayor Deloach, Alderman Bell, Miller, Foster, Hall, Durrence, and Thomas voting in favor.


Alderman Johnson and Alderman Shabazz voted No.

45. Settlement of Claim

City Attorney Brooks Stillwell asked for approval of a settlement of claim for workmens comp for Vernell Stephenson for $100,000.  Mr. Stephenson was a Refuse Collection employee who was injured on the job.


Upon motion of Alderman Miller, Seconded by Alderman Foster and unanimously carried.


46. Appointments


Upon motion of Alderman Bell, Seconded by Alderman Foster.  The following appointments were approved and unanimously carried.


Pension Board

Paul Mosley, Sr.


Coastal Workforce Development Board

Lee M. Smith


Greater Savannah International Alliance

James N. Anderson

Mehmet Ergul


As per request of the GSIA reduce the number of board members from 19 to 13.



Alderman Miller announced a district 4 town hall meeting on November 27, 2017 at the JEA at 6:30 pm. He thanked the City Manager for topics for discussion and its open to the public.


Alderman Bell stated it is with sadness and condolences of the passing of Mrs. Andrea Bowers Williams yesterday.  She served as the principal of Spencer Elementary school.  We send out our condolences to her family and especially her mother, Mrs. Janie Bowers a long time educator.


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


The recorded City Council Meeting is located on the City of Savannah website.


Dyanne C. Reese, MMC Clerk of Council
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