The issue was brought before the commission Monday, Nov. 14 at the board’s regular monthly meeting. A request for revisions to the alcohol ordinance arose out of the Civic Arts Commission, which is a volunteer board overseeing the operation of Cedartown’s performing arts center.
Commissioner Dale Tuck, who serves on the board as the commission’s representative, said board members are concerned that the language of the current ordinance places too many restrictions on vendors, effectively making the auditorium a “hard sale.”
“There are several obstacles that are preventing us from finding partners,” Tuck said.
As an example, commissioners were pointed to a portion of the ordinance the limits sales of alcohol to a 90-minute period, beginning when doors open for the show and ending with the final intermission. This small window limits profit potential for an outside vendor or caterer to come in and provide the service, the civic arts commission believes.
The ordinance also states that all profits from alcohol sales are to go to the auditorium. This prevents vendors from coming in on a profit-sharing basis.
“Those with catering licenses just don’t think they can make any money with us,” Tuck said.
Commissioners requested that its attorney draw up a proposed revision to the ordinance that would create exceptions to allow the kinds of services suggested for the auditorium, allowing for more “flexibility.” That proposed amended ordinance may be ready in time for the commission’s review at its Dec. 12 meeting.
Commissioners also noted that not all shows at the auditorium are a suitable match for alcohol sales. The auditorium hosts a variety of shows for children, including events for local schools. Alcohol, of course, would not be sold during those kinds of events, commissioners stressed.
In other business at its Nov. 14 meeting, the commission:
Approved a proposal from Commissioner Scotty Tillery that the city reinforce its stated policy of buying locally whenever feasible.
Tillery said he is concerned that a policy of always choosing the lowest priced vendor may not be cost-effective in the long run. For example, he said if a city employee drives to Rome to buy a part or some supplies, the city needs to consider the cost of labor for that employee, lost time and the cost of fuel along with the purchase price. If a local vendor sells the same thing for a few dollars more, buying locally could still be the better deal, Tillery said.
“Our local businesses need all the help they can get,” Tillery said.
Tuck agreed. “It’s hard for us to promote ‘shop downtown’ if we’re not doing it ourselves,” she said.
Rokovitz said department managers know that the preference is to buy locally when possible. However, he said one issue is that a part may be available elsewhere immediately, but would have to be ordered from a local supplier. In such a case, it’s worth driving out of town to buy the part or whatever is needed so that work is not held up, he said.
“I don’t want to tie their hands and make them wait for it,” Commissioner Larry Odom said.
Discussed pending state regulations that will require the installation of phosphorous removal equipment in the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The city is facing a $19,600 bill just for the engineering.
Commissioners agreed with the recommendation of City Manager Robbie Rokovitz that this payment be held off for payment in the 2012 budget, which is to be finalized in a few weeks. The actual installation costs, which are currently unknown, could be covered by Special Local Option Sales Tax funds, he said.
Approved the proposed SPLOST sharing agreement as presented by the Polk County Commission, following recent meetings between the county and municipal leaders. Cedartown is to receive 24.84 percent of Special Local Option Sales Tax revenue from SPLOST taxes that would be collected after 2014.
The SPLOST is already being collected, but the tax expires in 2014. City and county leaders recently met and agreed to put a SPLOST referendum on a 2012 ballot in order to keep the tax going. The one-cent tax on purchases is used for capital investments, including the purchase of vehicles, heavy equipment, building construction or renovations, and recreational facilities, such as the recent repaving of Cedartown’s tennis courts.