The Hinesville City Council conducted its first December meeting late Thursday afternoon after a false start. The scheduled 3 p.m. meeting could not officially begin due to the absence of two council members as well as Mayor Jim Thomas, who was part of a group of Hinesville business and civic leaders that went to Washington, D.C., last week to talk with Georgia lawmakers and Pentagon officials.
Lacking a quorum, Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier and City Manager Billy Edwards allowed for the reading of two informational items and several reports but no action items then they agreed to recess until 6 p.m. when District 4 Councilman Keith Jenkins was able to attend. District 2 Councilman David Anderson was absent during both sessions.
The two informational items heard were proposed ordinance changes, which were read by Edwards, who explained the implications of each proposed change. One proposed change was to amend Chapter 15 of the city’s code of ordinance regarding taxation and revenue, which would allow for the administration and collection of a hotel/motel excise tax. The other proposed change was to amend Chapter 2, Article II, Division 3, Section 2-75(i) of the city’s code of ordinance to remove reference to Robert’s Rules of Order and allow for the use of a parliamentary procedures established by the city council.
Because Anderson was absent, Edwards read his monthly business license report for November then he reported that the Hinesville Fire Department and the Hinesville Police Department each have been selected to receive a $6,000 grant for safety and liability equipment. He concluded his reports by discussing a Dec. 6 work session for the council, which will include a segment on dealing with news media and a session with Tax Commissioner Virgil Jones.
Public relations manager Krystal Britton told the council about several upcoming community events, including Monday’s Holiday Open House, Tuesday’s Christmas in the Park, Friday’s Hinesville Illuminated Christmas Parade, Saturday’s Wreaths for Warriors Walk and the Dec. 13 Christmas Cupcake Wars.
When the council reconvened at 6 p.m. with Jenkins present to make a quorum, the first action item on the agenda was an agreement to postpone discussion and a decision on the Hinesville/Fort Stewart watershed assessment. The council then heard from the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission regarding a request by BOTC Investment, LLC for final plat approval of 12 lots at Wexford Estates. With some special conditions noted, the council approved the request.
The remainder of the council meeting dealt with requests for new or renewal of alcoholic beverage licenses. The council approved requests for new alcoholic beverage licenses for Bassano’s Italian Eatery, Tekilla Rose and Revolutions Nightclub. Six Clyde’s Markets, Countryside Convenience Store and Kroger were approved for renewal of alcoholic beverage licenses for off-premise drinking. On-premise alcoholic beverage licenses were approved for Doodles and El Cazador Mexican Restaurant.
Wu Ni, owner of the Sushi House, had to appear before the council before his request for renewal of his alcoholic beverage license would be considered. According to tax and license coordinator Pamela Coleman, Ni’s business was late in submitting a required quarterly alcohol and food sales report three times in 2011. District 3 Councilman Jason Floyd asked Ni whether he understood the importance of submitting the report on time. With Ni’s acknowledgement that he understood, Jenkins told him that his history of being late with this report could lead the council to vote against renewing his license. Nonetheless, the council voted to renew his license but warned him to submit quarterly reports in a timely manner.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for Dec. 15.