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Hinesville City Council at odds over The Big Apple
hinesville city hall

Opinions flared and council was divided on the topic of The Big Apple nightclub. The business had a history of incidents, leading up to council’s decision to revoke their business license at a show-cause hearing in December 2018. At the regular city council meeting March 21, District 1 councilmember Diana Reid and District 3 council member Vicky Nelson pushed back against District 4 councilmember Keith Jenkins calls to hear the appeal from The Big Apple business owners concerning an early re-instatement of their business license.

According to City Manager Ken Howard, the business is not allowed to conduct anything on the property. At the show-cause hearing, the license was suspended and not renewed for the year. The owners submitted a letter requesting that council consider renewing their license, and sent a detailed list of improvements made that will include security arrangements and other procedures to prevent crime and incidents from happening, Howard continued.

According to the letter, the owners claimed an arrangement with Midway Police Department would provide an officer and patrol car on premise during operating hours to reduce crime. Hinesville Police Chief Bill Kirkendall called the MPD in an effort to vet the claim. Kirkendall said that no such arrangement had been made, and that MPD could not justify using one of their officers to patrol a business within the city limits of Hinesville.

Jenkins suggested that with the letter and the improvements, that council should at least grant the owners a hearing and a chance to justify their case. Reid disagreed, saying that they were caught lying before about incidents, and that they lied about security arrangements in the letter. “Why grant them a chance when all they do is lie?” Reid said.

After much discussion and dissent from Nelson and Reid, council denied the request for a license reinstatement, and wouldn’t hear their request.

In other business, council recognized three HPD officers for exemplary service on two separate calls in February, and presented them with certificates.

Council approved a request to submit an application for an Emergency Solutions Grant from the Community Development Department. The grant would provide money to the following programs: hotel and motel vouchers for immediate short-term shelter for individuals and families who are currently homeless; rapid rehousing, which provides short-term rental and utility assistance in cooperation with case management services, financial counseling, and employment assistance to individuals and families; prevention, which provides short-term and utility assistance to prevent at-risk individuals and families from losing permanent housing; and HMIS and Coordinated Entry, which provides funding for a part-time intake consultant to ensure fair and equal access to housing services and let individuals and families be quickly identified, assessed, referred and connected to housing, according to the Homeless Prevention Program Assistant Director Kristin Bryant.

The request for funding is $129,000, and requires a 100 percent match from the city, Bryant said. A $10,000 United Way grant, and $13,000 in cash from the city from the 2020 FY budget will be paired with $106,000 of in-kind donations of personnel time and office equipment to create the 100 percent match, Bryant continued.

The Hinesville Fire Department requested to submit the Georgia Homeland Security Grant application for funding consideration by the Georgia Emergency Management Association to replace or update existing hazardous materials response equipment. The HFD is eligible for the grant every three years. According to Hinesville Grant Specialist MaryBeth Deiters, HFD is the only HAZMAT team in Liberty County, and in order to maintain the department’s current response capabilities, HFD applies every three years to update existing materials.

The HFD asked for $18,656 in funding, and there was no match required, Deiters said. Council approved the request unanimously.

Council approved bid awards for debris grinding and debris screening to Core Maintenance of Odum, Ga. According to Public Works Director ESG-Operations Gary Gilliard, ESG will negotiate for debris hauling for the remainder of the funds, totaling $50,000 or less, he said. Funding will be $70,000 from the Solid Waste fund for the grinding and screening portion. The rest of the funds will be pulled from the Storm Water Utility Fund. Council approved unanimously.

P.C. Simonton and Associates Matthew Barrow presented the recommendation to award the 2019 Local Maintenance Improvement Grant bid to the Sikes Brothers. The Georgia Department of Transportation provides funding to municipal and county governments across the state to assist with transportation related maintenance improvement projects, Barrow said. The 2019 LMIG allocation for Hinesville is $322,940, and requires a minimum local match of 30 percent, Barrow continued. The city will provide a local match of $96,882 from the general fund and SPLOST 6 funds.

The contract was awarded to the Sikes Brothers for an amount not to exceed $394, 643.

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