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County talks Sunday alcohol
Adding second monthly meeting also on agenda
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Sunday alcohol sales and conducting two meetings a month, with one in South Bryan, were among the topics of discussion at Tuesday’s Bryan County Commission meeting.

No vote was conducted on either matter but county attorney Charles Brown said he is currently looking into both matters, based on past inquiries from commissioners.

Last year, the city of Richmond Hill went through a process which now permits Sunday sales. Like the new Richmond Hill law, the county is looking into allowing alcoholic beverages be sold to restaurants only if 50 percent of its annual gross sales derive from food. Brown’s proposal includes allowing hotels to sell alcohol as long as 50 percent of its sales derive from lodging.

In order for Sunday sales throughout the county, to become a reality, Brown said the county must hold a special election "for the people to decide."

Commissioner Toby Roberts said this would be for the entire county, to include the city of Pembroke. Brown said the issue will be revisited at the August county commission meeting.

If everything goes according to a preliminary plan outlined by the commissioners and commission chairman Jimmy Burnsed, the county may be conducting two meetings per month in the near future – one in Pembroke and one at the soon-to-open county complex on Hwy. 144 in South Bryan. Burnsed recommended the second and fourth Tuesday as meeting times.

"By June 2010 we could be meeting at the Richmond Hill facility," Burnsed said. "At some point in time - when the economy revamps and we have more zoning issues - we’re going to have to have two meetings a month."

Burnsed said the meetings will be later in the day, which will make it more convenient for the public to attend. He also said meeting on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month would allow better timing in order to react to time sensitive annexation requests that manifest from Richmond Hill and Pembroke city council meetings. Richmond Hill city council meets on the first and third Tuesday while Pembroke meets on the second Monday of each month.

Brown said he would have to appeal to the General Assembly of Georgia in order to get clearance to change when and where commission meetings are held. He said he will revisit this issue during the August county commission meeting and contact state representatives if the commission still wants to proceed with the changes.

In other business:

- The commission voted to approve 50 percent of the boat dock storage to be available to the public in the proposed marina project on Red Bird Creek. The project, which has received criticism for potentially infringing on a historic preserve, was recently denied by the Army Corps of Engineers, but is still active. A public hearing on the project takes place Friday at 9 a.m. at the Wetlands Center as part of a meeting of the Coastal Marshlands Protection Agency.

- Commissioner Toby Roberts expressed concern with the county’s contracted garbage company, Republic Waste. He said he has seen trucks leave trails of hydraulic oil spillage and garbage on county streets. County administrator Phil Jones said he believes they are contracted for another year. Jones also said much of the garbage spillage comes from residents not bagging their garbage.

- Two new staff members were introduced: Finance Director John Grotheer, Jr. and County Engineer Kirk Croasmun.

- Judge Ronnie Rahn and Sheriff Clyde Smith approached the commissioners about dedicating the Bryan County Courthouse to the late Judge John Harvey. The commissioners were receptive to it, and a vote is slated for next month’s commission meeting.

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