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Monday, November 18, 2019
   
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Tybee Council Shores Up Beach Restoration Fund

12/21/2009 - Tybee City Council marked its last meeting with its current makeup Thursday night by agreeing to put an extra $100,000 a year from its hotel tax share into beach restoration.

The increase will take the annual allocation into the restoration fund from $150,000 to $250,000. The move came at the suggestion of Mayor Jason Buelterman and drew a quick consensus as council members adopted an approximately $9 million 2010 capital improvements plan.

Council set the plan at the time it adopted the 2009-2010 budget that went into effect July 1. Thursday’s action opened the plan up for amendments such as the additional set-aside for beach restoration.

About $2 million of the capital projects were to be funded from the Special Purpose Sales Tax, or SPLOST, allocation, but shortfalls in collections and the Chatham County’s jail construction needs put some of those dollars in doubt.

An additional $3.2 million of the capital plan is funded from grants, about $322,000 from the city’s general fund and  $3.9 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund.

This year’s general fund budget includes $840,000 in hotel-motel tax transfers. The $250,000 allocation for the sand renourishment fund represents a full penny of the city’s share of the bed tax.

Beach restoration occupied a high place among priorities of candidates during this year’s council election campaign. Many of the candidates repeatedly emphasized that Tybee Island serves as a beach for all of Chatham County, the surrounding region and entire state. Thus, more help from other governmental entities is needed to help maintain the beach and cover the $8-$10 million cost of restoring the beach’s sand every six years or so.

Candidates, several of whom won seats, also argued that the Georgia Ports Authority should be sharing in the restoration costs. They say surveys show that dredging of the Savannah River over the years has contributed to Tybee’s beach erosion.

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