A proposal for Chatham County to take over Hutchinson Island from the City of Savannah is on hold until county and city officials can meet to discuss the idea. State Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) tells GPB that plans to submit legislation to de-annex Hutchinson Island from the city are "in limbo" until city and Chatham County officials can work out their differences.
Officials in Chatham County are looking for clear answers on whether a proposed convention hotel would get state tax breaks. A law passed last year gives developers large breaks on tourism projects. But it left what qualifies up to the Governor. A policy aide to Governor Nathan Deal doubts Chatham County's project would make the cut because it could harm existing hotels.
Georgia's ports officials have serious concerns about the possibility of a cruise ship terminal at their Savannah dock. The city recently paid a consultant $50,000 to create a feasibility study on how Savannah could start welcoming cruise ships. The study's top recommendation was a temporary cruise ship terminal at the Georgia Ports Authority.
Chatham County taxpayers could be taking a big risk by publicly financing a new hotel at the Savannah Trade and Convention Center. That's the conclusion of a consultant hired by the trade center board to run the numbers. The consultant says, the hotel business is extremely volatile and the hotel's developer is being overly-optimistic about potential revenue.
Governor Nathan Deal still is reviewing a bill to boost tax incentives to spur some tourism projects. The tax breaks could help a proposed convention hotel in Savannah. Some hotel owners have tried to block the hotel because it could be financed with 50-million-dollars in county bonds. The opponents says, that's unfair to privately-backed hotels.
A company has been tapped to build a new passenger ferry for Savannah. Custom Steel Boats Inc. in North Carolina has the $1.5 million contract to build a 67-foot, 150-passenger boat. Once in operation, the ferry will take riders from Savannah's downtown to the International Trade and Convention Center on Hutchinson Island.