Savannah-area lawmakers say they’ll block plan for new city

Tybee Island Lighthouse
Tybee Island Lighthouse (Photo by J. Miers via Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Two Georgia state lawmakers say they won’t support a bill this year that would create a new city in coastal Georgia.

State Sen. Ben Watson and state Rep. Jesse Petrea, both Savannah Republicans, made the announcement Tuesday regarding the proposed city of Chatham Islands.

Residents of Wilmington, Whitmarsh, Talahi and Oatland islands have expressed opposition to incorporation, the lawmakers said.

The movement to form what would be Chatham County’s second-largest city, with an estimated population of 26,000, began after another lawmaker sought to consolidate the Savannah city and Chatham County governments. That move sparked opposition among residents of the islands. However, city-county consolidation has stalled because of a lack of local support.

Watson and Petrea had announced earlier that they were likely to oppose incorporation.

A study by the University of Georgia found the islands could finance their own city government if it imposed a local option sales tax.