SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Mayor Van Johnson capped off his final press conference of 2022 by discussing the finalization of the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) and the looming frigid weather.
On Tuesday, the Savannah City Council unanimously approved an offer from Chatham County on LOST.
“As far as we’re concerned this is done,” Johnson said of a deal with Chatham County on its LOST offer. The county told WSAV that it will release a statement or hold a press conference on the deal next week.
The back-and-forth negotiations hovered around the county wanting a larger percentage of the LOST tax revenue as it currently rakes in 23% of the revenue. However, the new deal bumps that up to 31% by year four in a step-ladder approach.
“This was a process that played out publicly,” Johnson said. “Sometimes it got dirty. Sometimes it got nasty, it didn’t have to be like that. On two occasions the county walked away from the table.”
“The reality is that we’re all in this together,” said Johnson. “And so now that the county will have $100 million over the next 10 years. Now maybe they can do some of the things that they should be doing.”
Nearly every inch of the country will experience below-freezing temperatures this week and the Hostess City is not being spared.
Friday night will bring low temperatures into the upper teens to lower 20s with wind chills as low as single digits, according to the Storm Team 3 Forecast. Christmas Eve is forecasted to be sunny and reach highs of mid to upper 30 degrees.
On Christmas, the lows will be near 20 degrees with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s, likely marking the coldest Christmas since 1999.
In response to these frigid temperatures, the city will open a warming center at the Tompkins Regional Center on Ogeechee Road to house the homeless and those without heat.
The center will be open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday through Sunday if the temperatures 20 degree wind-chill is forecasted, Johnson said.
“We don’t want anyone to be out in the streets in the cold,” Johnson said.
Union Mission, an organization dedicated to helping the homeless and others in need, will open its doors from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday through Monday. Its facility Grace House is on Fahm Street.
Johnson said next year he plans to focus more on crime in the Hostess City which he says remains an issue.
“There are still too many guns being pulled,” Johnson. “We have to continue to work towards common sense gun safety laws. We have to continue to insist on prosecution for those who pull triggers in our community.”
He also said he’s looking forward to passing the hotel/motel tax in the new year.