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Statesboro council meeting scratched for lack of quorum
Contract appeal rule, alcohol amendments pending
Mayor Jonathan McCollar
Mayor Jonathan McCollar

Statesboro City Council's regular meeting that was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday was cancelled earlier in the day because the required quorum of three members was not expected.

The council has been reduced to four members since the resignation of District 5 member Travis Chance in March. City Clerk Sue Starling, who issued an agenda packet Thursday for Tuesday's meeting, sent out an email shortly after 9:30 a.m. Tuesday announcing the cancellation.

Called later Tuesday, Mayor Jonathan McCollar said he had known that District 3 Councilman Jeff Yawn would be out of town. But then District 1 Councilman Phil Boyum "at the last minute" informed other city officials that he would be unable to attend, McCollar said. That left only District 2 Councilman Sam Lee Jones and District 4 Councilman John Riggs available.

McCollar said he expects items from Tuesday's aborted agenda to be carried over to the next regular meeting, at 9 a.m. May 1, with no need for a called meeting.

"The things that are on the agenda are not life-threatening or urgent, so we figured we could just do them on the next agenda," McCollar said.

Amendments wait

The aborted three-page agenda listed 28 items. One of those was a second reading and possible vote on an amendment to the Vendor and Professional Appeals Ordinance. First readings of four amendments to the Alcoholic Beverages Ordinance were also postponed by the cancellation. Traditionally, the council holds a second reading during a later meeting before voting to adopt an ordinance.

The change in the vendor appeals ordinance would allow vendors to appeal to the city manager only those contracts awarded by the city manager in the first place, typically those costing less than $20,000. The option of an appeal to the city manager of contracts awarded by City Council would be eliminated. Such an appeal request by two insurance agencies last fall spurred the council's reconsideration of its own award of a brokerage services contract for the city's health insurance plan. City Manager Randy Wetmore formally denied the appeals, upholding the council's decision, and the insurance agencies then appealed to the council.

But at the April 3 meeting, City Attorney Cain Smith said that it would be impossible for the city manager to override a decision by council anyway. So with that appeal step removed, vendors objecting to a bid decision made by the council would have to ask the council to reconsider.

Alcohol rules

The proposed alcoholic beverages amendments, reviewed by the Alcohol Advisory Board, include an insurance requirement for licensees, a modification to a policy prohibiting customers under age 21 at some establishments, a provision for special events and a definition of "low volume licenses." 

Hearings for awarding alcohol licenses to three specific applicants were also on the agenda, as were some contract awards and zoning requests and an update on the Community Dog Park.

A special election will be held May 22 in City Council District 5, with three candidates vying to fill the vacant seat. 

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

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