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Hinesville council tackles Name change, new restaurant
Breathalyzers for city employees in accidents with city vehicles discussed
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An announcement that Frank Cochran Drive will be called Veterans Parkway starting May 1 was among several issues discussed or approved during Thursday’s city council meeting.

Other issues discussed by Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards during his bimonthly report included an update on a study for Frank Cochran/Walmart traffic; funding for sidewalk ramps along Oglethorpe Highway, Gen. Screven Way, Highway 196 and Main Street that comply with the American with Disabilities Act; sewer issues on South Main Street and Cherrie Murrell Street; and surplus information technology equipment.

Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas talked during his report about his recent trip to Atlanta where he and Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier met with Gov. Nathan Deal about the Interstate Compact for Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

Thomas said Georgia’s support for the compact shows that Georgia and military communities like Hinesville are family friendly.

Action items voted on during Thursday’s meeting began with approval of proposed site plans for a Golden Corral restaurant at 741 E. Oglethorpe Highway. Council’s approval was contingent on receiving a letter from the restaurant’s corporate office explaining the lighting requirements of its signage.

The action item with a lot of discussion was proposed changes to the city’s vehicle policy presented by Assistant City Manager Kenneth Howard. The proposed changes would affect reimbursement of city employees for use of their private vehicles, vehicle rental procedures and accident procedures involving city employees using city vehicles.

The latter issue regarding accidents raised several questions, starting with Councilman Keith Jenkins suggesting that city employees — including council members — who are involved in an accident with a city vehicle should undergo a breathalyzer test.

After much discussion, Thomas agreed with Jenkins.

“There must be no perception of any favoritism if a city employee is involved in an accident,” he said. “So if a city employee is involved in an accident using a city vehicle, a breathalyzer test should be conducted, but that does not remove the possibility of additional tests.”

The council approved the proposal on condition that language would be added about the breathalyzer-test requirement.

Other action items approved by the council included approval to use funds for additional projects from the original $2 million loan for construction of Bryant Commons. The estimated cost was $204,081.

The council also approved a convenience fee for online payments of bonds and to waive fees for 35 poly carts to be used during the Liberty County Relay for Life, which is scheduled for April 20-21.

The council set a date for the owner of Savannah Mr. Pizza to appear before the council for a show-cause hearing due to the restaurant’s failure to submit its alcoholic beverage and food report on time for all four quarters in 2011.

The restaurant owner will be asked to appear at the next city council meeting on March 1.

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