Money, police presence focuses of District 2 'Ask an Alderman' event

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The three big topics of discussion Monday night at the "Ask an Alderman" event for District 2 residents in Savannah: crime, blight and development.

The question-and-answer session was heated, and at times, contentious. A lot of complaints went back to police presence.

The Savannah-Chatham Metro Police chief told WTOC Monday he is still requesting 100 additional officers from the city council.  The alderman's answer, like many others, came back to money.

"I see policemen walking in my neighborhood never. Between last year and this year, I have not seen a police officer on foot in my neighborhood. If you want to stop crime, if you want people to talk to you, let me people know who you are," said William Ambrose, a resident.

"Yes, I agree with you. I'd like to have 11 officers per 1,000 people down here. How are we going to pay for it? How many of you are willing to quadruple your property taxes," responded District 2 Alderman Bill Durrence.

Alderman Durrence informed residents there is no funding for the second phase of the Waters Avenue project. The cost was higher than the amount budgeted.

You've got to follow the money. Ask Stephanie Cutter, the former city manager," said former District 2 Alderwoman Mary Osborne.

"Mrs. Cutter doesn't work here anymore," responded Durrence.

"I know she doesn't but she has a history. Sometimes you must go back in history. You've got to learn to follow the money. They switch money around left and right," replied Osborne.

"I can assure you we're going to follow the money," responded Durrence.

Alderman Durrence says the lack of funds is a result of poor spending from previous administrations.

"Ask an Alderman" continues Wednesday in District 6. Alderman Tony Thomas will welcome Coffee Bluff area residents at the Crusader Center. The town hall begins at 6:30 p.m.

Representatives from SCMPD and Savannah's Public Works and Sanitation Department will be on hand to answer questions as well.

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