Players at Bowden Golf Course may soon be able to quaff city-approved beer.
Macon City Council members told administration officials Monday they want the concession stand at the course to be able to sell beer, something thats currently prevented by the citys contract with restaurateur Kiron Johnson. Council members said that while theyre not necessarily promoting drinking, many golfers already bring their own; and if the city wants the course to come closer to breaking even, allowing beer sales would be an easy source of revenue.
Its being consumed on the golf course anyway, so why not benefit from it? asked City Council President James Timley, a frequent Bowden customer.
Interim Chief Administrative Officer Dale Walker and Bowden manager Nathan Caffarelli were giving the councils Appropriations Committee a report on a slight hike in course fees -- which Caffarelli said hasnt hurt business, though some council members said theyre hearing player complaints -- when Timley asked why Johnson cant sell alcohol at the snack bar.
Golfers expect to have their beer, Timley said.
In July, the council approved a contract with Johnson to run the snack bar, which the city has had trouble filling. The deal lets him operate it rent-free for one year, with a subsequent annual rent set at 10 percent of his first years revenue.
Soon afterward, the council directed the city to fix the ventilation system in the snack bar, which had prevented previous tenants from cooking food on site.
Assistant City Attorney Stuart Morelli said hes not sure why alcohol sales are prohibited in the contract with Caffarelli. Beer sales are allowed by the city code, he said.
Walker said he didnt object to legislation that would remove the no-alcohol provision.
If thats the desire of the council, well be glad to do that, he said.
Food trucks stall
An ordinance establishing rules for operating food trucks in Macon was put off for two weeks. Committee Chairman Tom Ellington said the delay was to make sure everyone had a chance to discuss it.
Councilman Henry Ficklin said he didnt want the council to bring it up at all -- or any other legislation thats not vital for operating the city in the final three months before Macon-Bibb consolidation.
Councilwoman Lauren Benedict, a sponsor of the ordinance, said this and other work still needs to be done.
Certainly its legislation that could and would remain in place under the new government, she said.
The city has demolished 32 abandoned and run-down houses since July 1, Walker told the committee during discussions about creating a master plan to deal with blighted housing.
Our goal is to try to get 100 by Dec. 31, but thats a very aggressive goal, he said.
The council put $530,500, a record amount, into house demolition in this years budget. The houses torn down so far, and preparations for tearing down more, have used about a quarter of that amount, Walker said.
Wanzina Jackson, the citys Economic & Community Development Department director, said about 20 more houses are undergoing asbestos testing or removal.
Worker time off
City employees are collectively owed about $40,000 worth of compensatory time off, Human Resources Director Ben Hubbard told committee members. All department heads assure him that their employees can take that time off before the end of the year, even though that amounts to hundreds of hours in some departments, he said.
The city would be able to hire a part-time employee to fill a clerk vacancy in the City Council office until the end of the year, under a resolution the committee approved unanimously.
It would be nearly impossible to get a full-time person in the essential job for the three months before the city merges with Bibb County, said Timley, the resolutions sponsor. The resolution will be up for a final vote at the full council meeting Tuesday night.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.