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Sunday alcohol sales in county to begin this week

Asia Ashley aashley@civitasmedia.com

June 4, 2014

Sunday alcohol sales in the unincorporated areas of Troup County will go into effect on Sunday, after the troup County Commission voted Tuesday to approve the new ordinance.


Residents voted in the May 20 election, with an about 60 percent approval, to allow Sunday package sales and alcoholic drink sales.


Commissioner Buck Davis was the only opposed to the new ordinance.


The ordinance allows for the packaged sale of alcohol and licensed on premises consumption of alcoholic beverages on Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to midnight. The county has always stopped alcohol sales at midnight Monday through Saturday, so the new ordinance aligns with current daily cut-off times.


Commissioner Richard English asked why the cut-off times were set at midnight for alcohol sales, specifically for businesses that are open 24 hours, and that it might become a rising concern in the future for workers who would want to buy alcohol after their night shifts.


County Attorney Jerry Willis and County Manager Tod Tentler agreed to look into state laws and regulations regarding 24-hour alcohol sales.


Commissioners also voted to accept a bid that would replace the Salem Road Bridge over Flat Shoals Creek.


A $1.5 million bid offer from Southeastern Site Development was accepted for the project replacement. County officials had concerns about getting rid of pieces of the old bridge, because it has sentimental value to area residents.


County Engineer James Emery discussed declaring portions of the remains of the bridge as surplus and suggested that residents would be able to keep portions of the bridge as a commemorative piece, if requested.


The project is budgeted in the SPLOST 3 section for bridges and intersections.


Also at the the Tuesday morning meeting, County finance officer Scott Turk briefly rehashed the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2015.


Employee medical claims increased by $1.8 million this year, so the upcoming budget included the increase assuming the year is the same as last year, he said.


Commissioner Tripp Foster inquired about the county’s smoke-free programs for employees. Divisions Manager Dexter Wells said the county has had a smoke-free initiative since January last year, and as of July 1, all Troup County property will be smoke-free campuses.


Tentler noted that though the county pays about 94 percent of health care costs for employees, employees should expect to pay more for health insurance as well. Per pay period, single plans will increase to $20 from $15, single with child plans will see a $10 increase, spousal plans a $20 increase and family plans will see a $30 increase.


Other budgeted items includes $65,000 in planned courthouse security upgrades covered by SPLOST and two new positions are proposed, one property appraiser at $24,618 and a new juvenile court position for grant writing at $44,916.


In capital expenses, proposed costs include buying backup servers and 200 Microsoft license renewals at a total $82,600, two dish washers for $85,000 and four walk-in coolers for $3,000 at the jail, two washing machines for the fire departments at $11,000 and eight zero-turn mowers at $11,000, paid through the recreation endowment fund.


Requested projects proposed for funding are new Tax Commissioner tax accounting software at $50,000 and waste management convenience center upgrades – second of a five-year program – at $200,000.


County resident Bill Gilmore questioned if there would be a drop in the millage rate for the upcoming fiscal year, since the commissioners voted on a millage rate increase in November to use the increase towards convenience center upgrades and jail repairs.


Gilmore said that the funds are not being completely used for what it was voted on, and is being used to fund some capital expenses in the upcoming budget.


Turk said the drop in digest, decrease in property value and loss in money from jails has caused priorities to shift due to the decrease in revenue.


Commissioners will vote on the budget on June 17.