Letter: Sure sign of a return to normalcy? City, county bickering from a half-mile apart

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Savannah Mayor Van Johnson (third from left) and Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis (second from right) are at odds over a transportation penny sales tax.
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson (third from left) and Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis (second from right) are at odds over a transportation penny sales tax.

This is a letter to the editor submitted by Tony Center, a Savannah resident previously served on the Chatham Commission and ran unsuccessfully for Savannah City Council.

What's new? Savannah and Chatham, two governments less than half a mile apart, are bickering.

A time honored tradition. Just look at the past dozen or so years.

More on city-county divide: Savannah Mayor Johnson says No TSPLOST without countywide transportation plan

Opinion on city-county divide: An obituary to the Chatham TSPLOST, a penny sales tax that was dead before arrival

Through three different county chairs, four different mayors and seven different commissions and councils, Savannah and Chatham found reasons to bicker.

Under the Chairman Pete Liakakis' and Mayor Otis Johnson's administrations, the two governments ended up in court over Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) distributions. Chairman Al Scott inherited and ended that suit, but for the next four years the county fought with the city and Mayor Edna Jackson over the police department. That ended temporarily when Mayor Eddie Deloach’s council finally said “enough” and terminated the agreement.

So now it is Chairman Chester Ellis and Mayor Van Johnson and their respective boards. But there may be a silver lining: our community, as much as the whole world, has suffered through nearly two years of a pandemic which has shrouded us with a dulling malaise that has everyone praying for some sort of pre-COVID normality.

So, let’s be grateful and say thank you to Savannah and Chatham, two governments who are leading the way to bringing us back to pre-COVID normality: bickering from half a mile apart. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel.

This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: The City of Savannah and Chatham County disagree over TSPLOST reigniting a divide

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