City officials: Inform event centers of text amendment

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany City Commissioners encouraged staff to reach out to all event center owners in the city who will be impacted by a proposed text amendment under which their establishments must be operated if the amendment is passed by the commission at its regular night meeting in two weeks.

Commissioners urged City Manager James Taylor to "at least attempt" to contact individual owners of the centers, which have come under closer scrutiny because of complaints about such activities as underage drinking at certain establishments, and make sure they receive a copy of the text amendment.

Informed by staff that notice of public hearings about the amendment -- one of which was held at a Planning Commission meeting last week -- had been published on the city's website, public access TV channel and in the city's legal organ (The Albany Herald), some commissioners said that was not enough.

"I can't tell you the last time I've picked up an Albany Herald," Commissioner Chris Pike said. "I get my information from social media. That's the way to get the information to the people."

Taylor said he'd make every attempt to contact event center owners, then pointed out that state law requires notice of public hearings be published in a city's legal organ. "And," Taylor noted, "not everyone has Twitter or Facebook or other social media."

When Commissioner Bob Langstaff said he "wouldn't want to make such a change without giving (center owners) notice of the proposal," Taylor noted, "You have to remember, these establishments are not open during daytime business hours."

Commissioner Roger Marietta suggested voting on the matter at the July 23 night meeting but not waving a second reading of the proposed amendment, which would require a second vote at the August night meeting.

The commission also approved travel expenses to the June 21-24 Georgia Municipal Association Convention in Savannah for: Mayor Dorothy Hubbard ($1,831.07), Pike ($1,758.77), Commissioner Tommie Postell ($1,475.16), Commissioner Jon Howard ($1,394), Marietta ($1,227.42), Commissioner Ivey Hines ($1,213), Assistant City Clerk Sissy Kelly ($1,238.29) and City Clerk Sonja Tolbert ($813).

The board tentatively approved with its regular 5-1-1 vote (with Howard voting against and Hines abstaining) a one-day alcohol license for a Flint River Habitat for Humanity fundraiser, an alcohol license transfer for Grocery & Tobacco Outlet at 1301 S. Slappey Blvd. and an alcohol license for Mel's Bar at 1408 W. Broad Ave.

The commission tabled a request by Cutliff Grove Family Resource Center to modify payments on its $1.5 million promissory note, a move that would lower payments on the low- to moderate-income apartment complex to the $2,500 to $2,900 range.