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Council to vote on alcohol code, discuss new attorney
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    In its only scheduled meeting in December, Statesboro City Council could adopt amendments to the city’s alcohol code that will allow for Sunday alcohol sales to begin this week.
    City representatives will decide today whether to approve a second and final reading of changes to Chapter 6 of Statesboro’s Code of Ordinances, regarding alcoholic beverages, at a 9 a.m. meeting in the second floor chambers of City Hall.
    The reworked alcohol laws would permit Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages throughout the city between the hours of noon and 11 p.m.
    According to City Manager Frank Parker, the changes would be effective immediately upon approval, allowing local establishments to sell their first Sunday drinks Dec. 11.
    Proposed amendments also would complete a months-long process to overhaul the alcohol code, making it simpler and less restrictive for the sake of license holders and enforcement officers, according to city officials. .
    The updated ordinance removes out-dated and contradictory language from the current law, eliminates hard-to-enforce provisions and eases restrictions on sellers, Parker said.
    “The current ordinance was difficult to control and enforce. As I have said from the beginning, our police officers need to be concerned with crime and do not need to be worrying with the issue of dealing with this hard-to-enforce ordinance,” he said. “We wanted an ordinance that is easy to understand, easy to enforce and makes common sense. Now, we will be
dealing only with issues that we need to be dealing with.”
    According to Parker, rules regarding the number of drinks that can be served and the types of containers used to serve them have been removed. Language requiring specific amounts of square-footage for dance floors or bar areas also has been omitted, he said — as occupancy restrictions are set in other codes. 
    “Those sorts of issues need not be part of an alcohol ordinance,” Parker said.
    Council also could reach an agreement today to hire a new city attorney, when the group meets for an executive session near the end of its meeting.
    According to Parker, representatives will evaluate two remaining candidates vying for the position.
    “At the council meeting, we will hopefully come out of the executive session and be able to take some definitive action,” he said. “We are going to go over the qualifications of both individuals, and I think we can be prepared to make an offer.”
    The City of Statesboro has been without legal counsel since September.
    In other council business: officials will consider amendments to the city’s tree ordinance, which require more green space for future developed sites and vote on motions to purchase new police and fire vehicles.
   
    Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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