Mayor Delivers State of the City Address

Mayor Otis Johnson
Mayor Otis Johnson

Mayor Otis Johnson took some time to talk to Savannah last night at a State of the City town hall meeting. Most people in attendance wanted to hear about some of the most common city issues, like crime and poverty. They even talked about some topics not technically under City Hall's jurisdiction.

Mayor Johnson laid out goals for this city council and an ultimatum of sorts to guarantee that those goals are realistic.

"Is Savannah better off in '07 than it was in '03?" he asked. "'07 is the fourth year of this administration and if you cannot answer that question in the affirmative, then you need to give some deep thinking about who you send back to council."

Johnson touched on all sorts of city issues, and spent about an hour taking questions from some of the hundreds of Savannah residents who turned out.

"Street robberies are running us scared in downtown and in the other neighborhoods," said resident James Maury.

"Speaking with the police department, I found out that two other neighbors in the area on my street who'd also been broken into," added Maryanne Brower.

"We've got a disconnect between what the citizens are saying and what the statistics are saying, and we've got to get the citizens and statistics at an intersect where people feel safe and they are safe," said Mayor Johnson.

Johnson took the opportunity in the spotlight to talk to another group of elected officials, the Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education. The public school system is currently on probation.

"This community has an opportunity to step up and speak to its board of education and that bureaucracy over there and tell them we want a better public school education in Chatham County," the mayor said.

Mayor Johnson says the city's made some great strides in certain aspects, but still has a lot of work to do. Things like the 22 percent poverty level in Savannah, which he called unacceptable.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite,