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Hearings on 4 proposed city laws set for Tuesday
City of Statesboro seal

Public hearings and possible first votes on four proposed new ordinances are on the agenda for Tuesday’s 9 a.m. regular Statesboro City Council meeting.

The first of these is the proposed Nondiscrimination and Equity Ordinance, which in the current draft, revised at a Sept. 15 work session, includes a 6% marginal preference for minority- and female-owned local businesses bidding for city contracts and purchases.

An existing city law, which would remain in effect, already gives Statesboro and Bulloch County-based bidders a 3% marginal preference. If a local bidder’s price is within 3% of the lowest bid and that bid is from an out-of-county vendor, the local bidder has the opportunity to match the low bid and receive the city’s contract or purchase.

The new proposal would make the margin 6% for local bidders that are also either female- or minority-owned. It also sets a goal for the city to do at least 20% of its spending with female- and minority-owned businesses. In three previous fiscal years, 2017-2019, their total share was 8% of the city’s operating and capital spending, according to a report by City Manager Charles Penny.

As previously reported, the nondiscrimination ordinance would also prohibit businesses in the city limits from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or military status in hiring and employment, in housing and in selling or renting real estate in general and in public accommodations.

The proposal includes some exceptions for religious organizations and private clubs.

Another proposed ordinance slated for a first reading would merge the city’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion with the Statesboro Works Commission, naming the new panel the One Boro Commission. The Commission on Diversity and Inclusion was already using the name “One Boro” when it proposed most of the Nondiscrimination and Equity Ordinance provisions.

If council approves, the Works Commission’s assignment to study and promote job creation and training will be added to One Boro’s duties under the rubric of “promoting an inclusive workforce.”

A third proposed ordinance would require public hearings before any existing city roads or streets are renamed in the future, even at the initiative of City Council. It will not affect the already approved renaming of Lester Road to Coach Lee Hill Boulevard.

The fourth new ordinance would allow the city manager or a designated staff member to review and approve applications for alcoholic beverage open container exemptions for special events. The mayor and council would no longer have to approve the initial application but would hear appeals.

If  any of these ordinances are approved on a first reading Tuesday, a second hearing and  council  vote would be required at a later meeting before they take effect.

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