Proposals were to amend the document so the board could issue a permit that would allow the sale and consumption of malt beverages on the premises of a special event. The permit would be temporary and valid only for the dates and location of the event approved by Commissioners.
Commissioners Jason Ward and Phillip Bentley voted in favor of the amendment. Commissioners Cleve Hartley, Larry Reynolds and Ricky Clark voted no.
The group also voted to revise the alcohol beverage ordinance to provide that a restaurant would mean a business that serves at least one full course meal for “not less than three days a week for not less than three months in a calendar year.”
They previously amended the ordinance so that it stipulated a restaurant would “serve one meal per day for six days each week and be the principal business with 50 percent or more of gross annual sales derived from food.”
Prior to their vote, a number of delegates spoke in support of the proposed amendment. Most were fired up about the board’s recent decisions regarding the Tough Mudder event.
Elaine Boring, delegate, presented a different opinion than others who spoke. She called attention to the positives – not negatives – the board’s decision brought to the area.
Boring emphasized that the issue had been discussed for several weeks and her hopes that everyone involved – whether for or against – would realize that success for the community was based on personal initiative and not an out of state company.
“Success was accomplished without the company that set stipulations on our people,” she said. “It was because everyone thought outside the box. Instead of being defeated, they decided on ways to make it a win, win situation.”
She pointed out the result was a Mini Mudder for kids and downtown activities, which were attended by a number of local and area residents.
Boring also focused on the fact that local officials thought of ways to publicize downtown Cedartown.
“The beer company was not present, but people called upon their own ingenuity to create activities and things that met the needs of everyone,” she said. “We don’t need people from outside, including someone from Texas, to tell us how to come together. We can make things work without direction from a major company.”
Other delegates included Jacquie Peterson, Heather Ball, Miles Gammage, Elliott Gammage, John Clark and Martha Nichols.
Ball emphasized the importance of physical fitness and well being and how Tough Mudder was not a gathering or party but a sporting event like football or baseball. She said athletes from across the country converged on this small economically challenged county and brought people from Oregon, Texas and other states to Polk.
“I met and talked with many wonderful people that were here for the sport,” she said. “During the two days, they also helped raise $69,000 for the Wounded Warrior fund.”
Miles Gammage spoke in favor of the proposed alcohol beverage ordinance. “We are interested in economic growth in Polk County,” he said. “Therefore, no event - large or small - that brings income to our county should be overlooked.”
He identified the “biggest issue” as support of economic growth. “If one of these athletes or others that visit this county can bring jobs, that is what we want,” he said.
Elliot Gammage questioned the issues and negative opinions that are circulating Polk about the board’s recent decision. He expressed the hope that local officials and community leaders are not returning to the division that once plagued the county.
He also asked, “Where are we headed… into the future or back to the past?”
The board also heard a presentation from District Attorney Robert Brooks, who gave an update on the operation of his office.
He said he deals with three different budgets – Georgia, Polk and Haralson counties. Brooks said that 99 percent of the state budget is used for salaries and similar expenses.
“We have furloughed a lot since I have been in office,” he said.
Brooks also expressed concern the 2012 budget “as proposed by the House” would mean more furloughs for his staff and perhaps eliminate one (or more) victim witness advocates, who provide services to crime victims.