Perry defines ‘intoxicated,’ lowers millage rate by one-tenth a point

chwright@macon.comAugust 21, 2013 

Perry police officers may now issue a city citation for occupying the driver’s seat of a parked car while intoxicated.

Lee Gilmour, city manager, said council unanimously approved Tuesday an amendment to an ordinance regarding the violation that gives a more concrete definition of “intoxicated.”

The measure passed at City Council’s regular meeting, where council also voted to lower the millage rate by one-tenth a point.

It’s illegal under state law for an intoxicated person to occupy the driver’s seat of a car parked in a public area. But some cities, Perry included, have mirrored that law in their local codes to allow the charge to go to municipal court instead of state court.

“There was a city ordinance in place, but I think, perhaps, it wasn’t being charged because the judge wasn’t happy with it,” said John Walker, an associate city attorney.

Perry Municipal Court Judge Herbert Wells didn’t feel the city’s code included a clear definition of “intoxicated,” Walker said.

The code now defines a person as intoxicated if he or she shows physical signs such as glossy eyes and dilated pupils, fails a field sobriety test, fails a Breathalyzer or refuses to submit to a test.

Also Tuesday, council voted unanimously to approve a millage rate of 14.03 mills. The city was able to lower the rate, previously 14.13 mills, because of a slight bump in expected revenue from property taxes, Lee said.

The city reassessed property values this year. While some went down and others went up, the overall result was an increase in values, Lee said. State law, he said, requires a decrease in the millage rate to offset the increase unless the city wants to hold three public hearings and keep the same rate.

The requirement “is so you don’t have a net gain in income just because of the reappraisal,” Lee said.

City Council felt since the city was still going to get the same amount of property tax revenue it estimated in the fiscal 2014 budget passed in June, then it was only fair to residents that they opt to lower the millage rate.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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