City Council Meeting Notes: Aug. 13
Council addresses graffiti ordinance, new rules for pain clinics, alcohol at businesses without permits, and more.
Lilburn City Council met on Aug. 13 for its regular work session and council meetings of the month. Here is a quick run-down of the major happenings.
1. Items for Action: Graffiti Ordinance
Summary: Introduced by Police Chief Bruce Hedley, the item provides mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for those who violate the graffiti ordinance.
It is an effort to reduce crimes that misshapen the character of the city, and that may lead to other crimes. Not only does graffiti cause problems for the affected property owners, it also causes the city police manpower and city resources.
According to the chief, there have been 198 instances of graffiti in the past 60 months in the city.
The new guidelines considered: $250 fine for the first offense; $500 for the second offense; $1,000 for each subsequent offense, or a 120-day jail time, or both.
Vote: This measure passed unanimously, 3-0.
2. Items for Action: Pain Management Clinics Ordinance
Summary: This item provides requirements of business licensing relating to clinics that prescribe and dispense pain medicines. Penalties for violations are also included.
The council also planned to lift a moratorium instituted in February on such businesses from establishing in the city. The moratorium commenced to keep pill mills out out of the city while staff investigated the issue more.
In the city work session, staff said the painkillers are more deadly that other drugs and accidents. City Attorney Richard Carothers said it was "the" problem.
Indeed, a recent report published by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicates that drug poisoning is the leading cause of death from injuries. And, that pain killers such as those that have codeine, cause most of those drug poisoning deaths.
Penalties for pain clinics not conforming to the city's new standards include revocation or suspension of a business license. (See a full report of this new ordinance here.)
Vote: This measure passed unanimously, 3-0. Additionally, council lifted the moratorium.
3. Items for Action: Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance Amendment
Summary: This item allows the Lilburn Police Department to hold property owners accountable for any alcohol brought on their premises. City rules have only allowed for the person bringing the alcohol to be cited.
This recently came up on the night of July 29, when police arrived at the Baradari Banquet Hall on Lawrenceville Highway because of a noise complaint. What officers found was drinking going on inside an establishment without an alcohol permit.
Although the people who rented the hall told police that the property owners said it would be OK, so long as they hired a guard for the door, police could not city the property owners. Only the renter received a citation.
Police Chief Bruce Hedley said the issue happens a lot.
"My hands are tied," he said the council work session. "This is recurring, and it's going to continue to recur."
Vote: This measure passed unanimously, 3-0. A sister measure, which allows for revocation or suspension of operating licenses of businesses that have been cited for any violation of city codes, also passed unanimously.
A. Parkview High School: The Panthers baseball team were commended for being AAAAA state champions in 2011. Members of the team were present for the special recognition. One woman in the audience said "it's long overdue."
B. Iron Sky: City council approved using drug forfeiture money to fund upgrades to the Iron Sky monitoring system inside City Hall. Approximately $23,084 in charges.
C. Big League Dreams: During public comment, a citizen asked about the Big League Dreams project. Mayor Johnny Crist said the purchase deal would be finalized in the next 60 days. The 38-acre site cost approximately $1.3 million.
If all goes according to plan, a private firm would end up taking on the estimated $20 million project. But, if not, the city will have to attract another developer, the mayor said.
"It's not in the bag yet, " Crist said. "It is a tremendous hope that it all keeps moving forward."