Mosses liquor license debate continues

Published 8:31 pm Wednesday, June 9, 2010

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

The debate over whether a local business should be granted a liquor license is still ongoing in the town of Mosses.
Business owner Geraldine Grant appeared before the Mosses town council to make them aware of a court proceeding dismissed for a man arrested and accused of selling liquor without a license at The Spot.
“The charges for the young man filed for selling liquor without a license was dismissed in court today,” said Grant.
Following the announcement, Mayor Walter Hill shared a letter from the ABC Board in reference to the flier circulating to advertise a beer bash at The Spot in Mosses and the actions taken by Police Chief Jimmy Harris.
Some still speculate if a warrant was necessary to arrest Grant and Kari Harris, the DJ, and confiscate the alcohol, or if the flier was enough evidence.
“When you advertise having any type of public event where admission is charged and alcohol is sold or consumed, if you do not have an alcohol license to sell, then you would be in violation of the law,” said Hill.
Grant and Willie George Wilson claim the prosecutor and judge from Harris’s trial said a warrant must be had to search the business.
Harris added by saying if someone has probable cause within their vision, they do not need a warrant. “The attorney and judge said this morning you have to have a warrant, but the state law says you don’t.”
The discussion moved to the different ways Mosses can grow and the poor conditions of the primary county roads used by residents.
Hill explained that he declared a state of emergency and was granted $10,000 from the town of Mosses’ gasoline fund to patch sections of road, but the total cost of repair was estimated at $1.5 million.
“We have a commissioner who represents this area and it is their responsibility to make sure the roads are up to par,” said Hill. “A number of citizens throughout the community have raised concerns at the meeting. Some got results…others they are working on.”
Council member Carol Leafblad claims she drives through Beechwood to avoid County Road 2.
“It’s such a curvy road and its had a lot of accidents on it,” said Leafblad. “I’m so scared to drive the road at night.”
The council will be setting up a zoning committee to zone certain areas of Mosses for businesses and future economic growth.

Other topics discussed at the Mosses town meeting:
– A nameplate was dedicated in honor of former councilmember O.C. Scott.
– Mayor Hill announced law enforcement officers would be present during all future town and public meetings held at the municipal complex.
“We want to ensure the safety and well-being of those who attend these town meetings and its council members,” said Hill.
– Hill encouraged everyone to fill out a Census 2010 form if they have not done so already.
“It is said publicly that if they can’t get someone after 6 p.m., they will talk to neighbors,” said Hill. “It does enhance our capabilities as a governing body regarding grants in general. We have a bit of ways to go to surpass where we were 10 years ago.”
– Hill announced the attorneys representing Lowndes County in the Pioneer Electric issue are pending litigation and requested any and every person who has had their power shut off as a result of a high power bill to call him or leave a message with the County Commission.
– Concerning the CDBG water/sewage stimulus grant, Hill stated additional funds are needed and he is “anticipating some word from Washington about additional money.”
“This is a $1.5 million project toward the lagoon,” said Hill. “the treatment effort will be worked out in phases.”
The second phase of the plan is to tie in all households serviced by the Mosses Water Authority. The council also seeks to extend water lines and add additional fire hydrants in certain areas.
– The Mosses town council is searching for members for a zoning committee to “zone areas for economic development purposes to keep the future of the community in line with the goals the current administration put it place a few years ago.”
“If we are to have additional business to come into Mosses to develop, we must have things in place to determine where those businesses will be as well as some other things the commission will be charged with in regards to zoning,” said Hill. “Every person will be able to share their opinion concerning zoning of areas.”
– The Parks and Recreations Board will be given the responsibility of drawing up procedures for activities taking place in parks and at the municipal complex. The people will be appointed and be required to put together the policy.
– Volunteer firefighters are awaiting action by the Governor to grant compensation to VFD members in the event of injury or death.
– Hill spoke about the public nuisance ordinance for “eye sores” within the community and actions that can be taken on behalf of the council and citizens.
“Any citizen can address the town council by verbal communication or written letter about the condition of certain areas,” said Hill.
Property owners would then be notified of the “nuisance” via letter and given ample time to meet the required standards, or an equally effective alternative. If this is not done, the town will move to correct the “nuisance” itself and bill the property owner. If the property owner does not pay, the town has the ability to repossess the property.
“We have only had to abate the nuisance two times and both times the property owners did away with the eye sore and abide by the law,” said Hill.
– Police Chief Jimmy Harris announced the applications for two USDA grants should arrive June 9. The grants will go to help buy and upgrade equipment.
– Announcements on pending litigation around Purdie Sons and Seawright were given.
“Prior to the current administration, the town of Mosses breached contract when they decided to opt out of the contract with the county and go with Lowndes Garbage service,” said Hill.
The issue has been in mediation for several months and talks were mentioned of a possible settlement, but failed, according to Hill.
The case is still pending and has yet to go in front of a judge or jury.
– Pending litigation regarding Seawright Caldwell and the request for punitive and compensatory damages. Items are not listed in dollar amounts.

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