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City now licensing alcoholic beverage caterers
Server training programs referred to advisory board
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Statesboro City Council last week approved a new type of alcoholic beverage license for three established businesses that do catering. Meanwhile, proposals from two businesses to provide alcohol server training programs were referred to the new Alcohol Advisory Board for review.

Both actions follow the city’s adoption of a new Alcoholic Beverages Ordinance, most provisions of which took effect July 1. Existing businesses that serve beer, wine or liquor drinks or that sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption paid increased fees when they renewed their licenses, also by July 1.

In the process, a city staff member sent out licenses for The Clubhouse, Holiday Inn Statesboro and Gnats’ Landing without realizing that the new alcoholic beverage caterer licenses required City Council approval, said Deputy City Manager Robert Cheshire.

“When any new ordinance goes into place, it takes a little while to get our act together and do everything that’s supposed to be done,” said Cheshire, who remains interim city manager through August.

Cheshire said he didn’t want the council to feel pressured by the mistake into approving the licenses without first discussing them. But the city has had no problems from these three businesses, he added.

City officials said the new alcohol catering license was a “contingent” or add-on license for the businesses, which already had regular licenses to serve alcoholic beverages on-premises.

Only the Clubhouse, which in addition to offering activities such as bowling and laser tag operates a restaurant, had already used the catering license, said City Clerk Sue Starling.

After no objections were heard during a brief hearing, the council unanimously voted on three separate motions approving the alcohol catering licenses.

The fee list established with the ordinance shows the added catering license fee as $200. In comparison, the separate $1,425 fees for a business to serve beer, wine and liquor on-premises add up to $4,275 for a place that sells all three. The ordinance also requires catered event permits in advance of each event with an application giving the city detailed information about the location and the number of guests expected.

The revenue from fee increases is funding a new alcoholic beverage control officer through the Statesboro Police Department.

 

Server training options

Also at the July 19 meeting, William Lord from the Training Institute for Responsible Vendors Inc. told City Council about training programs the company can provide for servers and managers employed by restaurants and bars. Training Institute for Responsible Vendors operates in six southeastern states and provides in-person and online training aimed at the prevention of drunk driving, overserving and underage sales, he said.

Under a part of the ordinance that will take effect Jan. 1, 2017, restaurants and bars must have their servers, bartenders and managers complete a Training for Intervention Procedures, or TIPS, course “or other similar training approved” by the City Council and mayor.  New employees will have to complete the training within 30 days of employment.

But only TIPS training is explicitly recognized in the ordinance, so the council would have to approve the Training Institute or any other training provider or program before it can fulfill the city requirement. The Bulloch County Alcohol and Drug Council provides TIPS training for local business owners and their employees.

Similarly, a representative of Buffalo Wild Wings briefly told the council about the ServSafe Alcohol training program the restaurant chain uses at its restaurants.

With council members’ consent, Mayor Jan Moore referred both the Training Institute and ServSafe programs to the new six-member Alcohol Advisory Board, which meets again Aug. 8 at 4 p.m. These proposals can be returned to City Council with the board’s opinion Aug. 16, Moore said.

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

 

 

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