Houston & Peach

Centerville sets guidelines on Sunday alcohol sales

CENTERVILLE -- City Council voted to allow Sunday package sales of alcohol during a called meeting Tuesday.

The council passed an amendment to the city’s alcohol sales ordinance which outlines hours and fees. Because the city already allows Sunday alcohol sales by the drink in restaurants, the amendment merely makes changes regarding those sales.

City Attorney Rebecca Tydings said the measure was worked on by attorneys from all three county municipalities in an effort to keep businesses in Centerville, Warner Robins and Perry on what she called “a level playing field.”

She said the amendment eliminates advantages or disadvantages to one city over another and was crafted to be easy to understand by businesses, easy to enforce by law enforcement and easy to administer by city officials across the county.

The regulations essentially now expand to allow the sale of alcohol by the drink by restaurants or by the package in convenience, grocery and liquor stores on Sundays from 12:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

Centerville will no longer offer a Sunday sales license to businesses, which it previously did to restaurants for $800 a year in addition to regular fees. It will now grant one seven-day license at generally increased costs.

The seven-day license for by-the-drink sales in restaurants will increase $500 to $4,000 annually. Wine and beer licenses used by convenience stores remain unchanged at $1,000. Package stores selling wine, beer and liquor will see a $1,000 increase to $4,500. Wholesalers also will see a $1,000 increase to $4,500.

Mayor John Harley and all council members voted for the measure except Cameron Andrews, who abstained. Centerville voters approved such sales earlier this month.

In the other major item on Tuesday’s agenda, the council voted to join other Houston County cities in asking Houston County to seek a 1-cent special purpose local option sales tax to be voted on March 6, 2012.

The SPLOST would bring more than $5 million to specific Centerville projects as well as money to county projects that will benefit the city. The measure was approved unanimously.

City Administrator Patrick Eidson said the SPLOST will include $3 million for a new public safety facility for the city; $706,500 in road, street, bridge and sidewalk projects; $706,500 in water and sewer system improvements; and $637,000 to pay off debt for water and sewer system improvements made primarily in the Sentry Oaks area.

In addition, he cited projects administered by the county which affect the city, such as $5.7 million for widening Gunn Road, $7.7 million for widening Elberta Road, and property acquisitions of $7 million to forestall Robins Air Force Base encroachment and $19 million for land acquisitions and infrastructure improvements to county industrial sites.

Officials estimate the 1-cent tax will generate $155 million for capital outlay projects throughout the county.

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