Savannah City Council tables $10 million surplus spending debate

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Instead of debating ways to spend a $10 million surplus, Savannah City Council decided to table the matter.

Council pulled the agenda items after coming to the conclusion in the work session that not everyone was in favor of the city manager's recommendations.

It was clear as a budget office rep was detailing how they came to their conclusions on the best ways to spend the surplus dollars, that more discussion was needed among council members.

Reps with the city's financial services and budgeting office tag-teamed the presentation to council on the projected uses of the surplus dollars, explaining how the money got there in the first place. What we learned is revenue from things like sales and property tax were higher than what was projected when they adopted the FY2017 budget. That, accompanied by lower expenses in part due to a hiring freeze, led to the $10 million surplus.

The suggestions on how to spend that surplus didn't strike a chord with all the council members. Alderman Julian Miller said the $600,000 to go toward a performance increase for city employees could be spent elsewhere, while Alderman Van Johnson proposed finding a more direct way to get that money back to the taxpayer. 

The bottom line: no vote was going to be held on the budget agenda items Thursday.

"We have a quarterly council meeting in the next two or three weeks. Maybe that will be an option to have a more in-depth discussion about all this," said District 2 Alderman, Bill Durrence.

That's what was decided. May 4th is when they'll all meet to discuss what they think is the best way to spend that surplus cash.

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