ST. SIMONS ISLAND — Hinesville City Council members and city administration met at the Sea Palms Resort and Conference Center on Friday for their annual planning workshop. The first day lasted more than nine hours as they worked through about half of their 23 agenda items.
The two-day workshop is scheduled to end today.
During the annual workshop, council members and city officials discuss projects, questions and concerns raised by the mayor and council, budgets, and other informational items that form the basis for their work for the rest of the year.
One of the main topics of discussion Friday was what the city could spend its allotted percentage of Liberty County’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax on if voters reinstate it this fall.
Projects that could be funded by SPLOST VI included paying half of the debt on City Hall and the Public Works Department, new 911 equipment, Bryant Commons and several road projects.
A proposed amendment to the city’s alcoholic beverage ordinance was discussed for the area known as the “triangle” that defines the downtown area — Gen. Screven Way, Oglethorpe Highway and Gen. Stewart Way.
The amendment would allow restaurants that are Class 1 or 2 alcohol establishments to sell alcohol in the downtown area without the current distance separation requirements.
For example, if a business was next to a church or a residence, it cannot sell alcohol. The proposed amendment would relax those requirements for businesses within the triangle. City Manager Billy Edwards said the amendment would help encourage restaurants into the downtown area.
The city’s transit system also might be discontinued to save money. The council agreed that the system has low ridership and is not generating revenue, but is a service to residents.
The system costs about $260,000 yearly, and less than $20,000 in annual revenue is generated from fares, according to documents presented at the workshop.
The day’s workshop ended with council members starting to look at all board appointments for which the council is responsible and the procedures behind each appointment.