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City to consider 6-month alcohol licenses
Interim step toward new fees on Tuesday agenda
City of Statesboro seal

Statesboro City Council is slated to take up a resolution Tuesday to renew alcoholic beverage licenses for only six months while resetting the due date and establishing new fees before they are due again.

Alcohol license fees are currently due between April 1 and July 1, the start of the city’s fiscal year. The proposed “interim resolution” on the agenda for Tuesday’s  5:30 p.m. regular council meeting will let the city charge each business with a beverage license half of its current fee in exchange for a six-month license.

This would be done to reset future due dates to the calendar year, beginning Jan. 1, 2020, and give the city time to work out an entirely new system of fees for on-premises pouring establishments. A set of definitions adopted by the council in August defines six categories: bars, bars with kitchens, pubs, restaurants, event venues and low-volume, but this plan did not go into effect, awaiting establishment of the licensing fees.

“So the idea is that we’ll put in the new license types effective January 1, and the reason we’re doing the interim thing is so that we can get on the same calendar-year schedule that the state licenses are on,” City Attorney Cain Smith explained last week.

Statesboro officials are trying to scale the new fees to the amount of law enforcement needed on average for each category of licensed business, he said.

Fees are currently based on the types of alcoholic beverages served, differing for beer, wine and liquor-based drinks. But under the new definitions, the city is creating licenses and rates “based solely on licensee’s business model” the resolution states.

Blue Creek grant

An intergovernmental agreement with the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority for the promised $5.5 million state direct investment for the Creek on the Blue Mile project is also on Tuesday’s agenda. This funding, which will not have to be repaid, will be for construction of the reservoir.

At a previous meeting, the council approved paperwork for a 30-year line of credit from GEFA for up to $15.5 million for the creek portion of the project. The city would have to repay as much of that money as it uses plus interest at a deeply discounted 2.25 percent annual rate.

TAD rules

Among other things Tuesday, the council is slated to approve bylines, policies and procedures for the Downtown Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee. The TAD Advisory committee in November approved a draft of its own bylaws and in January adopted policies and procedures, after which chair Doug Lambert said the committee appeared ready for project requests. But Smith afterwards reminded committee members that City Council approval is required for the committee’s rules to take effect.

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.

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