The Appling County Commissioners got an ear full on Tuesday, January 7, from a host of Appling County citizens. The main topics of discussion included the purchase of Dunn’s Lake (also known as Lake Tara) and a recent decision by the commission to rescind the county’s beer and wine ordinance (decision made at December 2013 meeting).
Al Graham talked to board members first and expressed concern with the commission’s decision at the October 2013 meeting to purchase Dunn’s Lake. Graham told the commissioners that he had received a lot of comments from citizens expressing concern about the purchase of the lake.
“Do we need another $750,000.00 recreation area?” asked Graham. “How many of your constituents have told you they agree with this decision?”
Graham requested that board members consider holding a public hearing on the matter before the deal to purchase the lake is finalized. He also shared a letter written in 1973 regarding a dispute between landowners surrounding the lake that showed one of the landowners (J.P. Morris) claimed ownership of the lake property and Graham expressed that the property owners may have some responsibility in fixing the dam on the lake, which is expected to cost the county approximately $1,000,000.00.
(Editor’s note: After receiving a tip on Monday, The News-Banner confirmed that the county is moving forward with the purchase of the lake property. Closing on the property was reported to take place on Monday, January 13.)
Beer and wine ordinance
Following Graham, Alma Attorney David McCrea spoke to the commissioners on behalf of the Appling County War Veterans Club. McCrea stated that he had been asked by the members of the veterans group to come and respectfully ask that the commission reconsider a recent decision made by the commissioners to rescind the county’s beer and wine ordinance. McCrea said that the sell of beer and wine has an economic impact on the community and added that other communities would probably welcome this action. The attorney stated that he fully understands the problems that come along with alcohol and suggested that rather than completely do away with the sell of beer and wine, the commissioners consider making the ordinance stronger with more restrictive requirements.
A host of citizens followed McCrea asking the commissioners to change their minds about the beer and wine ordinance. At one point the question was raised if members of the War Veterans could purchase alcohol elsewhere and take it to the club. County Attorney Bob Highsmith stated that the county has no type of brown-bagging ordinance that would restrict people from taking their own alcohol to the club. Highsmith did suggest to the War Veterans to seek legal advise about open container laws.
The commissioners approved a recommendation to enter into a two-year contract with Republic Services for solid waste collection. As part of the new contract the exclusive franchise aspect of the contract was removed for commercial accounts-only.
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