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Sumter County BOC approves alcohol license for Jenkins Road store; discusses closing of Livestock Authority

By MICHAEL MURRAY

AMERICUS – The Sumter County Board of Commissioners met on Dec. 13 for their monthly work session, followed by their regular meeting on Dec. 20 at the Sumter County Courthouse.
At the beginning of the work session, the board voted on an issue that they had been discussing for weeks; whether or not to approve an alcoholic beverage license an alcoholic beverage license applied for by Sandipkumar Patel, owner of Sam’s Package Store at 225 Jenkins Road. Commissioners, Mark Waddell and George Torbert voted to approve the license while Commissioners, Thomas Jordan and Clay Jones, opposed the proposition. Board chairman, Randy Howard, cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the license and the application was approved.
Sumter County citizen, Craig Walker, later addressed the board to express his opposition to the measure, stating that he fears that the presence of a liquor store in that neighborhood will have a negative effect on the community. Howard assured Walker that all of the applicable regulations will be enforced as pertains to the establishment and that any infractions of local alcohol ordinances would result in the establishment being penalized.
Also discussed at both the work session and regular meeting was a proposal to send a letter to representatives of the Sumter Livestock Authority, with a request for a response within 10 days of receipt. The letter requests details for the proposed closing of the Sumter Livestock yard due to the falling prices of livestock. The fate of the stockyard has been in discussion for several months, while the commissioners worked with the Livestock Authority Board to determine a solution to the organization’s financial issues.
The board then discussed the approval of potential amendments to the Sumter County Code of Ordinances Governing Nuisances. County code enforcement officer, Jerry Harmon, addressed the board stating that he had received complaints that overgrown vegetation in vacant lots in the county is creating a nuisance for some residents. After much discussion, the proposition was tabled until the regular meeting, during which it was approved.
The board also heard from Charles Proctor, co-owner of Gold Star EMS, who asked them to consider urging the management of Phoebe Sumter Medical Center to allow increased usage of their EMS service. Proctor claimed that the inclusion of Gold Star EMS service by the hospital’s emergency personnel could help decrease wait times for patients awaiting treatment.
Sumter County Parks and Recreation Department director, Tim Estes, then introduced the board to Grayson Griggs, of the Gordian Group. Estes explained that he would like to employ the Gordian Group to help facilitate construction of new facilities at the Sumter County Recreational Complex on Highway 19.
Sumter County Fire and Rescue (SCFR) chief, John Ekaitis, then addressed the board, asking them to approve a measure that would allow the SCFR to issue a city-wide burn ban in drought conditions. Ekaitis stated that the Forestry Commission currently issues burn bans, but has no way of consistently enforcing them. Ekaitis went on to say that, at that point, only the state government currently has the authority to issue a state-wide burn ban and that they had recommended county fire departments seek approval from their local administrations to give them the authority to issue the bans. After much discussion, the measure was tabled until the January meeting.
The board then approved the appointment of Douglas Unger to the Sumter County Board of Tax Assessors.
At the regular meeting, the board discussed several other potential county board appointments, including another opening on the Board of Tax Assessors and one on the Planning and Zoning Commission. County Clerk, Rayetta Floyd, advised the board that six applications had been received for the Board of Tax Assessors and that two had been received for the opening on the Planning and Zoning Commission. The board decided to hold interviews of these candidates before opening the January work session and to postpone the open meeting until 6:15 on Jan. 10.
The board approved alcoholic beverage vending licenses for Sarmapan Corporation, 506 Highway 280 E.; Fatboys, 4038 Highway 280; Plains MTD, 144 Highway 45 N.; Lakeshore Marine, Inc. 4262 Highway 280 E.; Double D Fast Food, 1409 Felder Street; Wolf Creek Plantation, 207 Wolf Creek Drive; Lopez Quick Stop, 1911A. Hooks Mill Road; the Brickyard Plantation, 1619 Highway 280 E.; and Spring Creek Marina, 3077 Lamar Road. The board also approved provisional licenses for Astro Club, Inc. 153 Sunset Park Road; CB Dowdell American Legion Post 558, 116 Highway 30 W.; and Reflections Sports Bar and Grill, 222 Loop Road. The provisional licenses issued will be revisited in March to ensure that the establishments have brought their buildings into compliance with the state fire code.