Georgia governor Sonny Purdue has ordered the cutback of $115 million from the state's Department of Human Resources budget. That could result in the closing of a decades-old mental health facility in Savannah. Georgia Regional Hospital has been serving Coastal Empire residents since 1970.
Last night, more than 300 people turned out at Memorial Health University to ask their elected officials to save the state-run mental health facility. The meeting was sponsored by the Chatham Legislative Delegation, many of whom also want to keep Georgia Regional from closing. But representatives from the state human resources department say cuts will have to be made.
"We're now down to the point in making these budget reductions of cutting very good, important programs because we don't have the money," said Jim Martin of the Georgia Department of Human Resources.
Rep. Tom Bordeaux (D-Savannah) does not like the plan. "I think it's been an outrage what has been proposed to close Georgia Regional," he said.
The governor's office is now preparing budget proposals, which legislators will discuss, starting in January. If Georgia Regional is closed, mental health patients will have to be sent to Central State Hospital in Milledgeville.