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Council to hold alcohol hearings
Traffic ticket fees may increase
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Due process hearings will determine the temporary fate of alcohol licenses for six area businesses today, when Statesboro City Council holds its regular meeting.

Six establishments - Kevin's Food Mart, Sunny Food Mart, Buffalo's Southwest Café, Christopher's Restaurant, Holiday Pizza and Rusty's Tavern - have been summoned to appear before council after being cited by the Georgia Department of Revenue Alcohol and Tobacco Law Enforcement Division for selling alcohol to underage persons.

Each institution, if deemed guilty by council, will face a temporary suspension of license, according to Michael Graves, staff attorney for the city of Statesboro

The violations were uncovered by "special agent Ron Huckaby and the Georgia Department of Revenue" in association with the Statesboro Police Department, said Wendell Turner, Statesboro Public Safety Director.
Undercover sting operations conducted by Huckaby's team led to the citations, he said.

Violation of Statesboro's alcohol ordinance for the first time - all but Rusty's will appear as a first-time violator - can result in a three-day suspension of an alcohol license.

Rusty's Tavern, which is facing council for a second time, could suffer a 10-day suspension, according to Graves.

Each alleged offender, per the city's municipal code, was given a summons to appear before council 14 days in advance.

Also, Council will decide Tuesday, on a motion to increase the amount of a technology fee levied against individuals cited for traffic or vehicle violations in the city.

The Statesboro Police department is asking a $10 fee, established in 2008 to benefit technological services within the department, be increased to $20.

An annual $60,000 gross would double to $120,000 if the motion is approved.

The increase in funds, said Turner, would service needs within the Police Department and ultimately benefit the citizens it protects.

"[The ordinance] is something we absolutely need in order to continue improvements in technology within the department," said Turner. "We are going to add programs to offer to the public. People can see and review any crime that is occurring, or any incident reports that have been filed in the city of Statesboro, by getting online," he said. "They can also get online and offer tips for any ongoing cases."

Turner said the money will be used to transition the city's fleet of patrol cars from outdated laptops to new computers over time, and cut "technical support" costs from the department's annual budget.

"We are looking at reducing some items on the regular operating budget with the increased funds," he said. "We can save the taxpayers about $32,000 yearly."

Other council business will include motions to: award Isabella's Pasta Restaurant an alcohol license, purchase a new patrol car and approve a business application for a new taxi/chauffeur service.

Also, Mikell Smith will donate $500 to the Statesboro Fire Department Fire Prevention Fund. Council will meet on the second floor of City Hall in the council chambers.
The meeting will start at 6 p.m.
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454



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