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Savannah, Georgia

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Savannah is the largest city and county seat of Chatham County, Georgia. Established in 1733, the city of Savannah was the colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. It is Georgia's fourth-largest city and third-largest metropolitan area. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Savannah had a population of 136,286, slightly up from the official 2000 count of 131,510 residents.[1] Between 2000 and 2010, the population of the Savannah Metropolitan Statistical Area (defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as Bryan, Chatham, and Effingham counties) grew from 293,000 to 347,611, an increase of 18.6 percent.

Website evaluation

Elected Officials
Administrative Officials
Permits, zoning
Lobbying N
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Public Records
Local Taxes

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Transparency grading process
Main article: Evaluation of Georgia city websites

This website was last evaluated on March 15, 2013.

The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 5 years.[2]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for 2 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for 3 years.
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
    • Video of meetings date back to 2009.[3]
    • Meeting videos are available for some meetings.[4]
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[5]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[6]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2002 are available.[7]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.[8]
  • Public records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by Public Information Office. This office provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
    • A public records form is provided by the Public Information Office.
    • A fee schedule for documents is provided.[9]
  • Administrative officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.[10]
  • Contracts[11]
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.

The bad

  • Meetings
  • Meeting minutes are not archived for at least 3 years.
  • Lobbying
    • Disclosure of membership in government sector lobbying organizations or money spent on lobby contracts is unavailable.


On Dec. 16, 2010, the Savannah City Council adopted the 2011 Service Program and Budget. The overall budget totals $270.6 million in spending, or 2.8 percent below the 2010 projected budget.


Savannah received approximately $3.9 million in formula funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.[12]

Public Employees

Elected Officials

Savannah's government became a council/manager form of government in 1954. The city council consists of the mayor and eight aldermen, six of which are elected from one of six aldermanic districts, with each district electing one member. The other two members and the mayor are elected at-large.

The council levies taxes, enacts ordinances, adopts the annual budget, and appoints the City Manager. The City Manager enacts the policies and programs established by council, recommends an annual budget and work programs, appoints bureau and department heads, and exercises general supervision and control over all employees of the city.

Title Name Salary First elected Miscellaneous
Mayor Otis Johnson, Ph.D. unknown 2003 Otis Johnson on Wikipedia
Alderman, Post 1 At-Large Edna B. Jackson unknown 2005 Edna Jackson ActiVote profile
Alderman, Post 2 At-Large Jeff Felser unknown 2003 Jeff Felser for Mayor Campaign Finance Report
Alderman, Dist. 1 Van R. Johnson II unknown 2004 Van Johnson on Facebook
Alderman, Dist. 2 Mary Osborne unknown 2004 Mary Osborne ActiVote profile
Alderman, Dist. 3 Larry Stuber unknown - -
Alderman, Dist. 4 Mary Ellen Sprague unknown 2007 Mary Ellen Sprague on Facebook
Alderman, Dist. 5 Clifton Jones, Jr. unknown 1995 Clifton Jones, Jr. ActiVote profile
Alderman, Dist. 6 Tony Thomas unknown 1999 Tony Thomas on Facebook

Administrative Officials

Title Department Name Salary Appointed/Hired
City Manager Office of the City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney $190,575[13] 2011
Clerk of Council Office of the Clerk of Council Dyanne C. Reese, CMC unknown 1991
Director Auditing Department Joy Wilkinson unknown unknown
Dept. Head Economic Development Dept. Marronde Lotson unknown unknown
Dept. Head Department of Finance Richard M. Evans unknown unknown
Dept. Head Department of Public Information Bret Bell unknown unknown
Dept. Head Department of Human Resources Beth Robinson unknown unknown

Emergency Personnel

In 2003 Savannah and Chatham County voted to merge their city and county police departments. The Savannah-Chatham Metro Police was established on January 1, 2005, after the Savannah Police Department and Chatham County Police Department merged. The department has a number of specialty units, including: K-9, SWAT, Bomb Squad, Marine Patrol, Dive, Air Support and Mounted Patrol. The 9-1-1 Communications Dispatch Center handles all 9-1-1 calls for service within the County and City, including fire and EMS.


See also: Georgia state government salary


See also: Georgia public pensions

No information was available about pensions for public employees in the city of Savannah.


See also: Georgia government sector lobbying

A search for Savannah lobbyists on revealed no registered federal lobbyists for the city.

Transparency & public records

Public records information is unavailable via the Savannah website.


Chatham County residents who reside within Savannah’s city limits are required to pay both county and city property taxes per Georgia law. Tax on real property is based on the assessed value thereof as determined by the Chatham County Board of Tax Assessors. Taxes are billed against the assessed value of the property which is 40% of the market value. (Example: $75,000 (Fair Market Value of Property) x 40% = $30,000 (Assessed Value))

External links