CHATHAM COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - A lot of people living on the islands of Chatham County are ready to be their own city. Monday, the Islands Community Association held a meeting to discuss the incorporation process.
There is a lot of interest on the islands to spend a good bit of money manning a new police department if incorporated. A recent study from UGA considered a lot of factors and determined it is feasible to incorporate.
Of course, people on the islands are protected by the new county police department right now. If lawmakers approve the incorporation, the new city could opt to make their own force. That’s what they focused on Monday. The presentation included the cost to start and fund a department.
The hypothetical department is a 44-man force with about a $4.5 million budget - comparable to Tybee Island, Pooler, and Port Wentworth.
The breakdown included everything from outfitting cars and officers to paying for background checks. People in favor of the incorporation said they’re trying to find the most effective ways to spend their tax dollars.
"If we had an elected citizen government that was able to get the right people in place to begin with, we could have a good local community police department,” said Islands Community Association President Adam Avant.
"I think there is a lot of appeal to it. The nuts and bolts of it is the part that’s really going to be tough,” said island resident Greg Vach.
"I pay a lot of taxes and I want my money going to help my community,” said island resident Augusta Livingston. “I'm very concerned about that."
This info is purely academic. The association obviously has no authority to create a police force unless they incorporate. That process, even with no setbacks, would take a couple years at least.