Mayor Van Johnson touts budget ahead of public hearing Monday afternoon

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Mayor Van Johnson stressed the importance of passing the city’s 2022 budget proposal, claiming it would add much-needed funding to the city’s infrastructure and sanitation.

City council will host the first public meeting on the $479M proposed budget at 2 p.m. and the following on Dec. 9. Johnson hopes the city will adopt the budget at the second hearing, with the final deadline resting on Dec. 31.

“This is a monster budget … this is also a once-in-a-lifetime budget, we won’t have this, we’ll be back to reality counting pennies again next year,” Johnson says. The American Rescue Plan gave a $65M boost to this year’s budget compared to last year’s.

Johnson said the budget reflects responsible growth and also claims the $6.7M proposed for sanitation is vital.

A snapshot of the budget is listed below.

“I think sanitation is huge because it’s going to, if you look at prior years, we really defunded that, although it was a priority,” Johnson said. “This gives them the resources. It gives them the people, it gives them the equipment and I think, for us, it funds our priority.”

Some of the other proposals in the budget include:

  • $9.5M for improvements to traffic, street and sidewalks
  • $7M to address drainage infrastructure, such as canal projects, storm sewer and pump station rehabilitation
  • $19M for homelessness and housing
  • $8.9M for public safety facilities and $4.5 million for new fire apparatus
  • $5M for a new Southside Community Center
  • $4.25M to upgrade recreation facilities and amenities in each district

“Investing in the things we said were important,” Johnson said. “We want trash picked up, no litter on our streets. This budget helps us get there.”

Another proposal raises the minimum wage for city employees to $15 an hour and increases city employees’ salaries by 8.4%. The pay changes would take effect in two phases — the first on Jan. 1 followed by the second July 3.

A full breakdown of the FY22 budget is listed below.

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