Savannah city leaders have had to make some tough decisions but they are close to finalizing next year's budget.
Tuesday was the first of two public hearings on the matter. The city's biggest financial challenge was losing $6 million of revenue from the "Lost" tax this year after their share was renegotiated with Chatham County leaders. They have some funds saved up to help recover those losses but a new solution will be needed for the future.
"I think the news in the 2014 budget is what it doesn't do. It doesn't increase property taxes," said city spokesman Bret Bell. "The very easy thing to do would be to increase the mileage rate, which is the property tax rate. But they decided to hold that steady despite that decrease that we saw and in fact the property tax rate is 30% less than it was 20 years ago, they've reduced it most years since then."
The second public hearing will be in two weeks and a vote will be taken by the council the same day. City employees are still looking at 2% wage increases. The overall budget is about $330 million.