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December 3, 2018 | News

Islands residents weighing in on decision to incorporate, not incorporate

Writer: Sean Evans

Published November 29, 2018
WTOC 11

To incorporate or not to incorporate? That’s a decision people living in the Islands community of Chatham County are weighing after a feasibility study was released.

A meeting was held Thursday night to go over the results of that report. There were around a couple hundred people at the meeting, so there was a good cross-section present of the tens of thousands this decision could affect. We heard from what we gather are three camps: those in favor of incorporating the Islands, those on the fence with more questions, and those solidly opposed.

We heard all three opinions over the course of the meeting which lasted for several hours, revealing details of the recently completed Fiscal Feasibility study done by the Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

“It is feasible. We can do it, and I think that’s great news, I think that is great news. That’s my personal opinion. Some of you may differ," said Adam Avant.

At the meeting to offer legislative perspective were several from the local state delegation.

“It’s not our role to advocate for or against it. That is your job. It’s the people’s decision," said State Rep. Jesse Petrea, R, GA, District 166.

The panel of elected leaders did highlight for the audience what they see as perks of incorporation.

“Ten, 15, 20 years from now, what does government generally do? It generally provides more services that you may want," said State Sen. Ben Watson, R, GA, District 1.

Even after the presentation, some in the audience still had questions.

“The vote tonight is undecided until we really have all these questions answered, so you can’t say you want this, and right now, I’m worried about it until I get my questions answered," said Islands resident, Judith Grisette.

For those lingering questions or concerns, those attending were encouraged to visit the Incorporate the Islands website to submit those for individual attention.

When asked at the end of the meeting who would at least want the opportunity to vote on whether or not to incorporate. The majority of those still in the room had their hand up.

Both Representative Jesse Petrea and Senator Ben Watson assured the crowd that as long as they’re in office, there will be no consolidation of Savannah and unincorporated Chatham County, so that scenario shouldn’t even factor into the decision on whether or not to incorporate the Islands.