County commission revoking alcohol licenses after 10 stores caught selling to minors

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Letters of license revocation will be sent to 10 convenience stores that were cited for selling alcoholic products to minors in September.

The Troup County Commission approved for the revocation letters to be sent out at its Tuesday meeting, and will further discuss the matter at an upcoming meeting.

Investigators with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division conducted an operation targeting the sale of alcohol to minors from the businesses. Investigators checked 19 locations in Troup County during the investigation and found that 10 locations did sell alcohol to a person under the age of 21.

The clerks making the transaction at the stores were issued a citation for the charge of selling alcohol to a minor.

No arrests were made during the investigation due to concerns of COVID, said Troy Anderson, the Troup County director of community development.

Sheriff James Woodruff said sting operations like the one operated in September are conducted usually once or twice a year or as complaints come in on stores.

“Maybe we need to do them more often,” Woodruff said. “Maybe we need to do them once a quarter.”

The locations in which the clerks were issued citations are:

  • Hamilton Food Mart – Hamilton Rd.
  • Super G – Hamilton Rd.
  • Shell store – Rosemont Rd.
  • Marathon store – Rosemont Rd.
  • Shell store – Upper Big Springs Rd.
  • Valero – Bartley Rd.
  • Marathon – Roanoke Rd.
  • West Point Trading Post – West Point Rd.
  • Ribitz – West Point Rd.
  • West Point Grocery and Lottery – West Point Rd.

The businesses that were cited were first-time offenders, Anderson said, which would allow for a 30-day suspension of alcohol licenses for the cited businesses and a reinstatement fee if the board of commissioners chooses to reinstate the license.

Reinforcing the alcohol suspension at the stores would require cooperation from the marshall’s and sheriff’s office, whether it be chaining the alcohol coolers or removing the alcohol products from the store or to a private area of the store. Officers would need to make routine visits to the cited stores to ensure no sales are taking place.

“If there are suspensions leveled against these establishments, we want to be sure that we maintain one standard across the board for all 10 [businesses],” Anderson said. “That all needs to be sorted out.”

County Attorney Jerry Willis added that the citation wasn’t of criminal nature, but rather a civil matter under the code against the licensee.

The licensee will have ten days after receiving the letter of revocation to request a hearing to have them reinstated.

He added that the last time the county had a hearing to reinstate a business owner’s alcohol license following a revocation was in 1995.

County Manager Eric Mosley said the hearing date to reinstate the licenses would take place in January 2022.

In other business at the meeting:

  • Commissioners voted to approve the creation of a deputy building official position for the Building & Zoning Department.
  • Troup Transit Coordinator Corey Dunn requested permission to pursue the FY23 Georgia Department of Transportation Grant which covers 50% of the transit operation. The Transit assists elderly and disabled individuals with access to appointments and other errands. The department has had the grant for several years. Dunn additionally requested updates to its Title VI act. Commissioners approved both items.
  • Commissioners tabled an application for funding for the Accountability Courts Housing Grant under the Department of Community Affairs Emergency Grant. The grant funds and allows counties to hire college students or recent graduates to complete county projects meant to provide interns with first-hand experience working in county government, provide practical work experience and inspire interns to consider a career in county government. The application will be revisited at a later meeting.
  • Court services requested permission to apply for the Georgia County Internship Program Grant, a grant offered through the ACCG Civic Affairs Foundation. Court Services is applying for the grant on behalf of the Probate Court for the purpose of completing a historical preservation project geared toward digitalizing marriage licenses, which are currently paper copies and are kept in books. An intern will be selected to identify, digitize and catalog old marriage licenses for the purpose of making the records more readily available to Probate Court staff and the citizens of Troup County. The grant application attached to this request describes the benefit this project will provide to the county, as well as the requirements for the ideal intern.