Posted by Doreen Higgins on Jun 11, 2018
At our meeting this last week, Kathy Siler, Chair, Incorporation Steering Committee, The Landings, gave us an update regarding the proposed incorporation of Skidaway Island as a city in Chatham County. Overall, at the present time, the feeling on the part of committee members and of many of the Landings residents is that it should become a city.  There are many doubts, questions, “what ifs”, and perhaps the greatest difficulty, uncertainty. There is uncertainty about finances, flood insurance, relationships with the county and the other entities on the island (Modena, South Harbor, The Marshes, etc.), ordinances, the necessity for our own employees, police, judiciary, and the responsibility and money that these services imply.
Kathy Siler covered these subjects and more as she told us of the time, effort and patience given by her and many others as we come to grips with this issue.  “Why,” she said, “Should we become a city?” First, she said, we should have local representation by a councilperson rather than sharing one person on the County Commission, as we do now, with all the other islands around us.  We should “have control over our island,” be able to provide ourselves with better and more timely service for the problems and needs we have: garbage, fire, ambulance, police. It is most likely, Kathy said, that we can reduce the costs of some or all of these.  The consensus is that the City of Skidaway Island could operate on a tax base of 4.13 mils, which could show a reduction in property taxes for many of us. Of course the City of Skidaway Island could raise this millage rate, but so can Chatham County.  We would also have complete control over our own zoning and building. Kathy reminded us that we would still pay some taxes to Chatham County; for example, school taxes would still be needed for local education, and the roads are used by all.
There have been almost ten years of investigation and study devoted to this issue. A formal study, required by law, was conducted by Georgia State University, funded by the TLA; this study led to the millage assessment mentioned above.  The TLA has also conducted its own study.  The results of these studies have been reported in The Landings Journal, distributed to every household at The Landings. There have been many town hall meetings – which continue –and legislation was introduced in 2017 in the State Legislature, passed on May 7th, 2018, which gave permission by the State Governor for a vote to be held for or against the City of Skidaway Island, on Election Day November 6th, 2018.  In support of this vote, several committees are working on educating the electorate on the issues of millage, a local option sales tax (LOST), flood insurance, new flood maps, manuals and ordinances in place, where and how to vote, answering questions, and more.  Voting for officers for the new city – if there is one – will be the following year, and for residents only.  Kathy reassured us that there will not be a whole lot of departments, just some offices in the Village with a Court but no jail.
Still in doubt? Town Hall meetings continue, attend them!  Get information on, talk to your neighbors, and vote!
Below is a photo of President Toni and Kathy Siler