Budget cuts proposed during Day 2 of Savannah Budget Retreat - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Budget cuts proposed during Day 2 of Savannah Budget Retreat

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Public Safety and the funding that they will get to protect you next year was the topic of discussion Thursday at the Savannah Civic Center.

The City of Savannah is discussing cuts across the board, and that includes police and fire departments, but especially for police officers and firefighters who have to work extra hours as a part of the job. A majority of their budgets come from the general fund. They're both getting cuts, but they're also getting additional positions and upgrades. 

A few aldermen want to make sure the cuts and managing of overtime does not affect combatting crime or fire response times, but both chiefs believe they will still be able to get the job done effectively. 

"We're going to do what's necessary to put people on the streets, and the city manager has committed to ensuring that occurs. We're going to manage our overtime, we're going to require more of our supervisors. With additional officers, we should be able to cut some of the overtime that people are making," said Chief Jack Lumpkin, SCMPD. 

They hope that moving to an electronic payroll system will help with these issues.

They also introduced more than $200,000 of cuts to social services and cultural arts.

"The arts are extremely important in Savannah. People come here because of the arts and heritage,” said Cultural Arts Director Eileen Baker.

Out of about 50 applications, they had to look at the most critical areas that need the money as well as not duplicating services.

We talked to a few of these social service organizations like the Telfair Museum that say this is shocking news.

"This is a significant cut. Twenty-six percent on very short notice. We've already got plans in place starting in January providing these services with the understanding that we were going to be able to continue doing these things. We're going to have to take a really hard look at what we have to cut,” said Telfair Museum Director Lisa Grove.

"We actually have a waiting list of people requesting them and our hope was for next year was to increase that, "said Second Harvest Executive Director Mary Jane Crouch.

Americas Second Harvest is also looking at $19,000 in cuts from their Brown Bag for the Elderly program.

"At least in January, we would have to eliminate 1,000 of those bags each month which means we would only be packing 500 bags of groceries. That means 1,000 people that each month we normally are able to give a bag of groceries that would have to say we just don’t have it right now,” said Crouch.

This also includes proposed cuts to the arts like Savannah State's Black Heritage Festival, SCAD's film festival and picnic in the park, just to name a few.

You can find a full list of organizations that are set to get cut if the vote goes through:

To read the full budget report, please click here.

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