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CAT Board approves 2021 fiscal-year budget Banner

CAT Board approves 2021 fiscal-year budget

The Chatham Area Transit Authority on Tuesday unanimously approved a $27.6 million operating budget for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The budget retains the 2020 fiscal-year tax rate, 1.15 mills, paid by property owners within CAT’s Special Service District, which includes Savannah, unincorporated Chatham County and a portion of Garden City.

About $20.8 million in planned capital projects are included in the spending plan, with more than $15.5 million of that cost covered by federal and state grants. These capital investments include almost $8.9 million for electric buses and related infrastructure, almost $2.3 million for new CAT Mobility paratransit vehicles, and almost $2.6 million for an Intelligent Transit System that will allow for service improvements such as real-time bus tracking, service alerts and computer aided dispatch.

The budget also includes additional positions, including five new fixed-route operators, nine paratransit operators and three new cleaners to help ensure CAT’s buses continue to be thoroughly sanitized in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other budget highlights include:

  • Overall revenues are projected to increase by $497,622.
  • Revenue generated from CAT’s Special District Transit Tax is projected to increase by $992,499, based on an actual 5.96% growth in the county tax digest.
  • Fixed-route passenger fares are expected to decrease 4.6% when compared to FY 2020 actual passenger fares.

The approved budget will be forwarded to the Chatham County Commission, which officially sets the service district tax rate.  The approved budget covers the period from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.