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Council OKs two alcohol ordinance changes
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     With minimal discussion, the Statesboro City Council unanimously passed the first reading of two proposed changes to the city’s alcohol ordinance.
        The first change extends the time licensees can serve alcohol on premises from midnight to 1 a.m., for Saturday night only. Sales are already permitted Monday through Friday until 1 a.m. In addition, every night all purchased alcoholic beverages must be collected from the customers by 2 a.m.
    The second change reduces the excise tax filing requirement for licensees from monthly to quarterly. All liquor drinks carry a three percent tax that is currently collected by the city on a monthly basis. City Manager Shane Haynes said making this change will have minimal impact on the staff’s workload.
    Since Councilman Will Britt floated the motions at the last meeting, he explained why he called for these changes. He said after five years of making these recommendations and meeting resistance from the previous administration and staff, he felt like the time was right to bring it up at a council meeting.
    “I received a lot of favorable feedback from business owners and my constituents (about these changes),” Britt said.
        Councilman Tommy Blitch said he wasn’t necessarily in favor of the extra hour, but liked the idea of streamlining the alcohol ordinance.
    “It makes the ordinances more readable even though I don’t like the extra hour,” Blitch said. “The reason I voted for it is that it straightens out our ordinances.”
        Britt also mentioned that local establishment owners have asked to reduce the excise tax filing requirement to quarterly.
        “Since they’re already filing a quarterly (50/50) report, why not file the excise tax at the same time, especially since the tax is only a few hundred dollars,” Britt said. “We’re saving trees on top of that.”
    Both ordinance changes are subject to a second reading, which, according to city officials, should take place at the first meeting in November.
      In other business, council approved another two year contract W. Keith Barber, who has been acting as the city’s solicitor for the last two years. When asked if the police department is better served by having a single attorney for the officers to work with, Statesboro Police Stan York said the money was well spent.

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