After months of overwhelming protests against the City of Savannah's Fire Fee seemingly falling on deaf ears, late last week, Mayor Eddie DeLoach finally admitted that the city listening, and he's now asking for City Council to vote on cutting the fire fee in half.
The fee, originally aimed at generating about $20 million for the city's fire services, was billed as a way for the city to offset the rising costs of those critical services without raising taxes. In fact, the plan called for a slight rollback in property tax, though not enough to offset the fee.
It was widely pointed out that the cost was only, in their words, $256 per home, though a much more significant cost for businesses as well as churches and other nonprofits that currently don't pay any property tax. Discounts were available.
The beauty of the plan, according to our city manager and mayor, is the additional revenues would allow jobs and services to be restored and the city could also invest in a school project to fund Pre-K for three-year-old children.
The mayor's logic - and I don't disagree - if you're going to solve our city's crime issues, then you must start with education. Unfortunately, the people who were asked to foot the bill aren't willing to do so right now.
Consider This: Call it what you want, fee or tax, the impact on our wallets is the same. In the end, this financial burden would force many Savannah families to do what the city was trying not to do, and that's cut back on its expenses.
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