Tue., November 5, 2013 11:44pm (EST)

Penny Tax Survives In Chatham County
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 5 months ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
A rendering of the arena site at Stiles and Gwinnet Streets, just west of the Savannah Historic District, was released just before voters approved a tax that would fund it, among other projects.  (photo Sottile & Sottile Urban Design and City of Savannah)
A rendering of the arena site at Stiles and Gwinnet Streets, just west of the Savannah Historic District, was released just before voters approved a tax that would fund it, among other projects. (photo Sottile & Sottile Urban Design and City of Savannah)
Voters in Savannah's Chatham County handily approved a penny sales tax proposal on Tuesday.

The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax survived an unusual push of opposition.

The one percent sales tax will fund local projects such as a new arena and drainage improvements.

Voters since 1986 now have approved six rounds of the tax.

Seven years ago, it passed by a three-to-two margin.

Tuesday's vote shows support down only slightly.

Tax opponent Marolyn Overton says she still feels opposing the tax was the right thing to do.

"We went into this knowing that we were the underdogs," Overton says. "But we felt that it was necessary to get another side of the story out to the people so the people could be educated."

The tax survived several controversies, including one over where the arena will be built.

Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson says the results show residents trust local management of their tax dollars.

"Once the public saw what we're doing, they have a better idea of what the arena will do for that area, the neighborhood," Jackson says. "People will buy into that."

Opponents included members of the Savannah Tea Party.