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Flowery Branch OKs Sunday alcohol vote
SPLOST may be used to buy 6 police cars
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Flowery Branch became the second government in Hall County to move ahead with a vote on Sunday alcohol sales.

City Council voted Thursday night to set a Nov. 8 referendum on the matter, setting hours of sale for 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Council members approved the ballot issue without discussion.

"What we could do ... before we get to November is have a chance to take a look at the (city's) alcoholic beverage ordinance and go ahead and make the changes, to have them ready to go in November," City Attorney Ron Bennett told the council.

The Nov. 8 vote coincides with elections to fill City Council Post 1 and 2 seats held by Amanda Swafford and Chris Fetterman, respectively.

Gainesville City Council was the first governing body in Hall to set a referendum on Sunday alcohol sales, passing a resolution Tuesday.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners has discussed putting the issue on the agenda for an upcoming work session.

"I want to get ... some sort of time frame of which the county could issue a referendum (on the matter) and the cost of the election should we deem to have it," Commissioner Ashley Bell said at a May 12 meeting.

And Oakwood City Council "has asked us to present a resolution for (its) consideration at our next council meeting," City Manager Stan Brown said last week.

The next regularly scheduled Oakwood council meeting is June 13.

City and county governments statewide have wrestled with the issue since April 28, when Gov. Nathan Deal signed the measure into law.

The law, which gives governments the option of putting the issue before voters, passed this year after five years of stalling amid pressure from religious groups and a veto threat from former Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Many restaurants and bars in Georgia already sell alcohol on Sunday. The new law would let voters approve the sales by grocery and convenience stores.

In other business, City Manager Bill Andrew presented updated numbers concerning the city's share of 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax money, as a follow-up to a May 5 discussion on whether to use SPLOST money to buy seven police cars.

Using money from the current SPLOST and carryover money from a previously approved SPLOST, city officials determined they would have enough money to pay off debts tied to a real estate purchase and buy six police cars this year.

Also, City Council voted to hire a new city clerk, Marja Burney, who will begin June 6. She has worked for the city of Lilburn for seven years. She will be paid a $45,000 salary, Andrew said.

"We were pleased with her qualifications," he added.

She was selected from a dozen "qualified applicants," including interim City Clerk Lou Camiscioni, Andrew said. 

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