October 22, 2020 - Mayor Van R. Johnson, II gave the City of Savannah's virtual 2020 State of the City on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Johnson began the State of the City by recognizing the unprecedented changes in the world between being sworn-in as Mayor and today, holding a moment of silence for Chatham County's more than 9,100 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 180 deaths.
The presentation continued with slides recognizing the transparency, accountability and inclusion that council has highlighted as decision-making qualities. Highlights include:
- Council reducing meetings to 24 a year, moved second meeting each month to the evening to allow more residents and students to participate.
- Technology advancements within the City's website, 311 reporting, and internal City platforms.
- $260 million worth of projects in construction, including the Savannah Arena, public works complex, Gwinnett Street widening, Broughton and DeLesseps streetscapes, the Highlands Fire Station and three community centers.
- Increased support and allocation of funding to essential services to help make homelessness and housing a priority, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Introduced Savannah First, a pilot program to boost the local economy with initiatives like local preference when soliciting bids and requests for proposals or RFPs, a contractor in training program, and the reintroduction of a local minority or women-owned business enterprise (M/WBE) certification.
- Human Services helped provide city-funded community partnership programs that connected 31,254 residents to all kinds of needed services.
- Task force successes, including PROUD Savannah (LGBTQ+ issues), Savannah Cares (citizen accountability and review of emergency services), ARCS (Advocates for Restorative Communities in Savannah), REAL Savannah (Racial Equity and Leadership), HOLA Savannah (Hispanic outreach leadership and advocacy) and proactive steps taken by SPD.
- 1% decrease in violent crime, 26% decrease in property crime.
- Continuing to support public health in Savannah through the 100% Clean Renewable Energy resolution, energy efficiency programs, improving City facilities, and transitioning to electric vehicles.
"It’s been a busy and extraordinary year," said Mayor Johnson. "None of us expected the challenges we faced, but I hope you see your city has risen to the occasion. We’ve come a long way, but we still have further to go. When everyone is at the table, our trajectory is limitless."
To view the full State of the City address, visit the City of Savannah's Facebook page.