CHATHAM COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - Chatham County commissioners met with representatives from each municipality Monday to talk about how they’d like to use taxpayer dollars for the upcoming SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax) cycle.
The SPLOST project lists and priorities varied based on the needs that each town and city in Chatham County have.
Leaders from Pooler, Port Wentworth, and Garden City all made pitches for SPLOST 7 dollars to go towards new recreational fields and complexes to help expand sports and recreational opportunities for residents. Another group of cities wants SPLOST 7 to include public safety upgrades, like adding new equipment and technology.
Pooler wants to add a new fire station on Jimmy DeLoach Parkway as well as widen several roads in the city.
The city would like to expand Pine Barren Road. With two schools located along part of the street, the mayor says four lanes are needed for the school busses and other cars. If given the money, the city would widen Pine Barren Road from Pooler Parkway to Rogers Street.
Just a little further south, the city would also like turn Quacco Road from a two-lane road to a four-lane road. But there’s a small hiccup, the city and county would also have to widen the overpass which sends drivers over I-95 to continue down Quacco Road.
Even with that small bump in the road, city leaders want to see this project happen.
"We understand the dangers of the road and we hope to work with the county to make changes to it,” Pooler Mayor Mike Lamb said.
It was Savannah’s ask from the estimated $400 million that SPLOST 7 is expected to generate that raised eyebrows. The City of Savannah is asking for more than half that total - $225 million - for projects throughout the city limits. Several commissioners argued that number was way too high, and highlighted several projects they thought were too expensive.
“Voters, hopefully, from now on, will scrutinize the projects more carefully, and when just a very few - when you streetscape one street, and it costs more than one city, close to three cities basically what they’re requesting altogether - it’s time to start cutting some numbers,” said Dean Kicklighter, Commissioner, District 7.
Commissioner Kicklighter was talking about an $8,000,000 ask for improvements to Broughton Street. Savannah City Manager Rob Hernandez defended that project and others, saying all requests are thought through by staff and deserve to be part of SPLOST 7.
“Whether we end up with $180 million - or I would hope the City of Savannah would end up with $226 million - because the reality is, the bulk of this money is generated in the City of Savannah, within the city limits. The city is the economic, cultural, recreational hub for the entire region, and I think it’s also important that all of you, as well as everyone in the room, recognize that," Hernandez said.
No actions were taken by commissioners during the meeting. They will vote on the SPLOST 7 proposed list sometime before July 1.