SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It is just two weeks until the 2019 municipal elections. Forums and debates have been heating up the candidate circles over the last few weeks.
In the 2015 municipal elections, incoming votes almost doubled in Chatham County. Turnout jumped from 20 percent to nearly 37 percent.
“You can do that go out and vote. Don’t complain. Vote and make a difference,” said Savannah voter Robert Smith.
Forums like one held in Port Wentworth Tuesday night are encouraging the same participation in 2019. Port Wentworth voters will choose an alderman at large and for districts 2 and 4.
“It’s really sometimes the only opportunity that our residents have to get to know and have face to face time with the people who are running for office,” said Trisha Growe.
Along with Savannah, Garden City, Port Wentworth, Pooler, and Tybee Island, all are voting for new elected leaders. They’ll also be voting on a hot topic, SPLOST 7. At Tuesday night’s Savannah District 2 alderman forum, the candidates and voters shared mixed thoughts about how the city has proposed to spend the money.
“People think about SPLOST and think of all the cool buildings that are going to go up and the importance of some of the cultural centers which we are one hundred percent for but the most important thing is that when it rains we can drive down our street,” said Savannah voter Neal Saye.
Some Savannah voters agree SPLOST 7 should focus on infrastructure needs, while others disagree.
“Quite frankly, I’m not really concerned about anything on that list. For me, it would be better schools for kids, training for the people who actually live here and affordable housing,” said Joyce Piersanti.
Other topics at Thursday night’s forums included public safety, promoting clean and presentable neighborhoods, and smart growth.
Early voting has started not only in Chatham County but in Beaufort, Bryan, and Effingham counties as well.
Dawn Baker was the emcee for Thursday night’s Port Wentworth forum and Cyreia Sandlin was the emcee for Savannah’s forum.