Savannah City Council budget retreat to start Thursday

Savannah City Council budget retreat to start Thursday

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah City Council members are meeting Thursday for their two-day budget retreat.

This week, they will officially decide how they will balance the 2018 budget and where they will find millions of dollars to offset a projected deficit. The preliminary budget that the city manager released last week revealed that city council members have two options - increase fees and cut services or find another revenue source.

Right now, city officials need to come up with $12.9 million because they have more expenses than revenue. One solution of generating more revenue is the proposed fire fee. By charging every property owner for fire services, the city would no longer have to financially support the fire department.

If city council decides against the fire fee or any other type of revenue source, they'll be forced to make cuts. In the preliminary budget proposal, those cuts would include eliminating more than 200 jobs, a three percent wage increase, more than 30 firefighter positions and imposing a hiring freeze.

The first reading of a proposed budget will take place Dec. 7 and the final reading will be on Dec. 21. The budget takes effect Jan. 1, 2018.

The budget retreat will begin Thursday at 8:30 a.m. WTOC will be there and will continue to bring you the very latest on air and online.

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