The Hinesville City Council on Thursday approved a proposed ordinance that clarifies the city’s intent regarding the regulation and enforcement of adult entertainment businesses.
Under the revised ordinance, businesses that sell adult novelties, or sex toys, are now subject to the regulations. The approval makes the change effective immediately.
The council’s move comes not long after the owners of Sunset Novelties, an adult novelty shop with stores in Savannah and Hinesville, filed a lawsuit against Hinesville city leaders.
The lawsuit states employees of the Hinesville store were threatened with arrest and prosecution for displaying sex toys, and it also said the Georgia law the city was attempting to enforce has since been ruled unconstitutional.
The store shuttered its doors Aug. 28, and at the time of its closing, city leaders noted Hinesville has its own ordinance regulating such businesses, but would not comment further because of the pending litigation.
In other meeting news, the council approved a resolution adopting the budget for fiscal year 2010, which begins Nov. 1. The 2010 budget totals $39,526,588 in expected revenue and the same amount for its planned expenditures. The budget does not yet include SPLOST funding, but it is lower than fiscal year 2009, chief finance officer Kimberly Thomas said.
More changes are coming to paid city services in budget year 2010, as well. The council voted to approve an increase in water and sewer rates for Hinesville residential and retail customers. The fee increases include a 2.5 percent increase in the base rate, raising it to $12.10 from $11.80.
Block rates will increase 5 percent for customers up to a certain gallon rate, and 1.5 percent outside the rates currently published. Walthourville’s wholesale rates will increase 5 percent as well, to $1.58 per 1,000 gallons. The rate has been $1.50 per 1,000.
Hinesville’s fee for septic dumping will increase to $75 per load from $65 per load.
The rate increases become effective Nov. 1 and will be reflected in users’ bills with due dates in early December, city leaders noted.