This should be good news celebrated by the popping of champagne corks. The City of Savannah usually has a budget surplus of about two or maybe three million dollars. Yesterday (04-11-18) it was announced that we had a $10M surplus! Do what? Much of the reason for this is the effort of the city manager Rob Hernandez who has revamped the way we look at budgets and spending money to get more penny-pinching like the private sector. He's watched the budget like the proverbial hawk and this is the payoff. But as is the human desire--with so much surplus the tendency is to spend it.
According to Sean Evans' story from WTOC there'll be fireworks galore at the city council meeting today. Like some of the larger items Sean mentions like a $2.5 million transfer to reserves and general fund balance, another $2 million to the Cultural Arts Center overrun another cool milin to the Montgomery Street Redirection and to payoff another $1.4 million of debt in the fairground purchase. Sean then talked with First District Alderman Van Johnson who complimented city manager Hernandez he has another idea for the money. What is it? GIVE IT BACK!
What a concept! Alderman Johnson told Evans, "We took the money from the people...we need to return it back to the people." Holy cow--a politician who wants to give us some of our money back. Hope you're sitting down. Johnson also brought up the thing that has us ticked off at Hernandez: the fire fee. The city has set aside $400,000 (our money again) to help taxpayers who may not be able to handle that extra charge on their homes and perhaps with this surplus we could do more. Johnson had another good suggestion saying we should funnel some of that money to the non-profit organizations who had to cancel their events like Tara Feis so they can restart them. The budget office has made twelve recommendations for the money (since the city is probably going to keep it) and none are recurring costs.
What do you think should be done with the money? I'd like it back!