Buelterman, Ellis vie for Chatham Co. Commission Chair seat

Chatham Co. Commission Chair candidates Chester A. Ellis (L) and Jason Buelterman (R).
Chatham Co. Commission Chair candidates Chester A. Ellis (L) and Jason Buelterman (R).(WTOC)
Updated: Oct. 29, 2020 at 7:03 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A former Chatham County mayor is hoping to lead the county next year.

Jason Buelterman spent nearly 15 years serving as a council member and mayor for the City of Tybee Island. Now, his goal is to become the next county commission chair.

Buelterman says this campaign has been much different than his campaigns in the past due to COVID-19. The former Tybee Island mayor says he has had to get creative with how he reaches out to voters all across the county.

Chatham County is a unique county with more than five municipalities, many of them growing day by day. The county also serves several unincorporated communities like the Islands and Georgetown.

Buelterman says he would like to bring more representation to the commission, meaning he would like to schedule more meetings with the mayors, city managers, and other community leaders.

When it comes to major projects, Buelterman says he would like to keep moving forward with Tide to Town, a multi-use trail connecting many different neighborhoods.

“I think it would have such a tremendous benefit to communities that have been underserved by the expenditure of taxpayer dollars, especially for recreational purposes. It provides healthier options for people to get out, it connects a lot of our schools. I just think it’s wonderful. I’ve seen it work in other places and I think we could do it here,” said Buelterman.

Buelterman is running against current Chatham County Vice-Chair Chester A. Ellis, who says Chatham County isn’t the same county that it was three years ago, but there is a plan to unite the different municipalities and unincorporated parts of the county.

Ellis says legally, the county cannot rule within certain jurisdictions unless it has an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) or a memorandum of understanding (MOU). He says this year, the county commission has worked to establish more IGAs and MOUs with the different cities. He says a master plan is in the works on how the county, cities, and unincorporated areas can help one another.

If elected, Ellis says he’ll work on furthering the master plan, as well as work on different projects like Tide to Town.

“That’s one of the projects that we need to make sure we finish, and if the county needs to work an agreement with the cities to help things move along. Those are the kinds of things I’m talking about that are already in the making,” said Ellis.

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