Councilwoman Mary Helen Lamb voted against the ordinance that allows for beer and wine sales in restaurants.
Waleska, the home of Reinhardt University, recently began allowing package alcohol sales, and while both moves come just months before the school kicks off its football program, leaders say the main reason for alcohol sales is to help the city attract businesses.
The possibility of allowing alcohol in restaurants began when the city was approached by residents considering re-opening a restaurant, Mayor Doris Jones said.
Betty Callahan attended the meeting and thanked the council for voting to allow restaurants to serve alcohol.
“I want to thank the council for passing the pouring license, because if you had not, we were going to not even try to open the restaurant,” Callahan said. “We had several people study for us and they said, ‘If you don’t get the pouring license you might as well not open the doors’ and we will be very disciplined about it and we will have a code of ethics that we will follow. But there will be incidences. We can’t help it; people are people.”
In other business during the meeting, City Manager Aimee Abernathy presented the city’s proposed $282,719 budget for fiscal year 2014 and said the “revenues still look good.”
The proposed total revenue for the 2014 general fund increased by $21,076 from the approved $268,334 budget for fiscal 2013, according to the proposal.
General fund expenses proposed for fiscal 2014 include $2,000 for city elections set for November.
The main increase is for other services the city requires and was increased from $7,000 for fiscal 2013 to a proposed $21,000 for 2014. Abernathy explained why the cost of the item changed.
“That’ll be next year,” Abernathy said. “And that’s because the inter-governmental agreement with Cherokee County, that will create some increased fees there.”
The funds will pay for Cherokee County to provide code enforcement for the city. Waleska has had issues with some residents keeping homes up to code, as the city has no code enforcement officers or court to process offenders.
Under the new plan, the county will provide more services.
The council voted to adopt the inter-governmental agreement with Cherokee County to conduct Waleska city elections, an agreement first adopted in 2009. Abernathy said this agreement was “exactly the same” as last time.
The city’s water fund revenue is also proposed to increase by $2,650 from the last approved budget, and water fund expenses are proposed at $711,567 for fiscal 2014, $2,650 more than fiscal 2013. Sanitation fund proposed revenues and expenses for fiscal 2014 are equal at $31,579.
The council will vote on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 after the second reading at their next meeting.
Other issues tackled
Councilwoman Melissa Fornier brought up the idea of possibly starting a “yard of the month program.”
Jones and other council members voiced support of the idea and agreed to bring it up at the next meeting after discussing the details and reviewing what other cities did to choose their yard of the month.
The council then discussed regulatory fees versus business licenses and ultimately decided to review the ordinances and bring their opinions on fee amounts to the next meeting.
The council also read a new solid waste ordinance that will be on the next agenda for a vote.
Abernathy noted that sanitation trash pickup day has changed to Fridays, but because of the holiday, the first trash pickup will be on a Saturday, July 5. Trash carts will be delivered June 28 and 29.
Abernathy also said qualifying for the city of Waleska elections will be Aug. 26 to 29.