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Mayor, City Council to decide Walk of Fame nominees

AMERICUS — The Americus Mayor and City Council meet at 5 p.m. Thursday for its regular monthly meeting at the Russell Thomas Jr. Public Safety Building downtown.
The mayor will present the Honorary Council member with a proclamation in recognition of his service. George Ellis was invited by Council member Shirley Green Reese. The mayor will also recognize the 8 and under recreation football team.
Tourism director, Nicole Kirksey will give a brief update. Tom Harrison has requested to speak concerning the Coffee with a Cop program. Also on the agenda to speak is Stacy Adams about “the unjustified service from the police department about bullying in the streets.”
On the consent agenda are the following items.
• Approve a resolution authorizing an RFP for utility bill printing services. During the agenda setting meeting, City manager, Steve Kennedy told mayor and council that a new bill will allow for more flexibility to insert special reminders, calendars, etc. with the bill.
• Approve a resolution authorizing an RFP for EAP Services which administers the city’s employee assistance program.
• Consider suspending the rules and adopting an Alcohol License Ordinance Amendment regarding public agency events on private property. Steve Kennedy explained that this is relative to the Hot Glass/Craft Beer Festival on April 8 in Americus.
• Consider approval of the city manager moving forward with a property swap with Sumter County of a piece on Bessie Mays Circle owned by the city for two pieces of property — one on Bell Street and the other at the end of Swett Avenue.
• Approval of the city manager’s negotiations in a plan to reroute truck traffic from Oak Avenue and Forrest Street and West Glessner Street. Kennedy said he is in negotiations with Reeves Construction Co. to purchase a triangle of property to facilitate a route for trucks from the backside of Agrium, proceeding northwest beside the railroad tracks and cross over on the Reeves tract before going on to Church Street, Millard Fuller International Boulevard and to U.S. Highway 19. He also asked this to be an agenda item.
Items on the agenda for Thursday include the following.
• Consider suspending the rules and adopting the 2016 Budget Ordinance Amendment in preparation of the upcoming audit.
• Consider the first reading of Alcohol License Ordinance. Kennedy pointed out the major changes in the ordinance:
— Creation of a license review board, members to be chosen by council, to be the last resort on actions against alcohol beverage license holders.
— Requires alcohol servers to undergo background checks.
— Provides restrictions for social hosting which adds accountability and liability for those serving alcohol outside of businesses to underage individuals.
— Changes “last call” for alcohol to 12:30 a.m. and requires the establishment to have all people out and business closed by 1 a.m.
Council member Lou Chase, during the agenda setting meeting, asked for clarification regarding the due date for application and fees for alcohol beverage license renewal being moved from Dec. 31 to Nov. 1. She asked if that means everything is due and if fees must be in full by that date. Kennedy said the forms will be revised to reflect the new deadline and that should give the city “a month and two-thirds” to get all the information to mayor and council by the last meeting in December for approval. Chase also pointed out another change in the ordinance that allows for open containers during special events. Patrick Kay, director of Main Street and Downtown, commented that the open container provision is only for Mainstreet and DDA events. Mayor Barry Blount said they should move forward with discussion of an entertainment district or zone. Kennedy said that is forthcoming in the next two to three months.
Also on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting will be five recommendations for the Walk of Fame, put forth by the Walk of Fame Committee. The recommendations are George Hooks, Nelson Brown, Bill Harris, Annie Bell Moss, and Peggy Sheppard. These must each be approved by mayor and council.
In other business, the mayor and council will also consider the following appointments.
— Meg Usrey of the Lake Blackshear Regional Library board has submitted her resignation effective immediately.
— The term of Willie Golphin on the Board of Zoning Appeals expires March 21. This is a three-year term.
— The term of George Laurin on the Board of Zoning Appeals expires March 21. This is a three-year term.
— The term of Doug Goodin on the Americus Theater and Cultural Center Authority expires March 28. This is a four-year term.
— The term of Frank Lowery on the Americus Theater and Cultural Center Authority expires March 28. This is a four-year term.
— The term of Lane Tyson on the Historic Preservation Commission expires April 28. This is a three-year term.
— The term of Debbie Smith on the Walk of Fame Committee expires April 19. This is a three-year term.
During his update at the agenda setting session, Steve Kennedy had the city’s human resources director, Dee Jones, to speak on an effort to make the city a tobacco free workplace. Jones said that with the existing wellness program, city employees wishing to cease using tobacco are eligible for individual counseling sessions and can receive tobacco-cessation products such as Nicoret, etc. She said the number of city employees who smoke is much lower than it was prior to the wellness program, but the tobacco free designation would include all buildings owned by the city as well as parks. This includes  cigars, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, dipping tobacco, etc.