Savannah city leaders kick off two-day budget retreat

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah city leaders will begin their two-day 2018 Budget Retreat on Thursday to decide what will and will not be funded in the new year.

City officials will be discussing quite a few tough topics that could possibly affect your wallets and city services.

For weeks, things have been up and down in Savannah when it comes to city finances and services like the police and fire departments.

The preliminary budget is more than $376 million. There are 24 separate funds that go into the citywide budget. The city manager says more than $12 million in spending cuts needs to be made in order to balance the budget. The preliminary budget eliminates numerous employment positions and other expenses to make that happen. Also, an alternative revenue source has been proposed, which is the fire fee for all property owners.

WTOC spoke with Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach ahead of the retreat to find out what message he wanted to pass along to the public as leaders go to work on their behalf.

"A budget that we feel like we can develop the community on and the city on, and move forward with. It's going to be some compromises on everybody's part. Once we get to that compromise, we'll all come to an agreement, pass the budget and move forward," said Mayor DeLoach.

City leaders are required by state law to have a balanced budget by the end of the year.

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

The 2018 budget takes effect January 1, 2018.

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