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Porterdale eyes alcohol referendum

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

PORTERDALE -- A referendum on package sales of beer and wine was a topic of discussion for City Council members again last week.

Council members first discussed the issue at April's work session and decided to put it on last Monday's regular meeting agenda.

Councilwoman Arline Chapman proposed that the city hold the referendum in order to give residents a voice in whether or not they want Sunday retail sales of beer and wine. After a brief discussion, the council reached a consensus to have City Attorney Tim Chambers draw up a resolution calling for a November referendum. The resolution will be ready for a council vote in June.

Since Porterdale now allows only retail sales of beer and wine in the city, the referendum for Sunday sales would apply only to beer and wine as well.

The council also explored the possibility of changing the starting time for Sunday by-the-drink sales from 1 p.m. to 11 a.m. Chambers told members that, under state law and based on Porterdale's population, they would be able to begin sales of alcoholic beverages no earlier than 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Chambers said it was unclear if the town would have to hold another referendum in order to change the serving hours. Chambers said he would research the matter and report back to the council.

In other news, Mayor Bobby Hamby reported that the tornado siren in the town shorted out during the recent tornadoes that passed through the North Georgia area. Hamby said the remote start from the 911 Center failed to activate the siren, and Fire Chief Ronald Savage had to manually start it.

The siren worked for a while before shorting out, Hamby said.

"That siren is probably older than everybody in this room," Hamby said, adding that efforts are under way to have the siren replaced.

The council also voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Hamby to execute an intergovernmental agreement with Newton County to provide commercial fire inspections at no charge to the city. According to the agreement, Porterdale already pays Newton County Fire District taxes, which are used to fund the commercial inspections.

The agreement term is one year, with a five-year renewal if neither party terminates the agreement within the specified notice period.