September 23, 2017

City imposes temporary moratorium on pouring licenses; Councilman Hamil’s flyer raises ire at meeting (Video)

The Franklin City Council voted Thursday night at its regular February meeting to impose a temporary moratorium on the issuance of any alcohol pouring licenses.

City attorney  David Mecklin told the council that his recommendation is that the current ordinance already in place by the city is outdated, subjective, and would be difficult to defend in court.

Mecklin stated that he would like to impose the moratorium for a maximum of 90 days in order to draft an ordinance that would more clearly outline the rules, regulations, and qualifications for establishments seeking to obtain a license to allow on the premises consumption of alcohol.

The attorney also said that the scheduling of a public hearing to allow citizens to voice concerns and ideas would be included as part of the process at some point. The city had actually advertised a public hearing to take place at this meeting for several weeks but it was called off prior to the meeting.

Currently, no permits are issued by the city which allow consumption of alcohol on site. Councilman Jimmy Hamil argued that he is in favor of the current ordinance because it allows for the issuance and revoking of a license for any reason by the council.

Mecklin stated that even though the ordinance might read that way that it would be impossible to defend in court if challenged. He said that the way the current ordinance reads that a business could be turned down just because a councilman might not like that business and that this was a very poor way to handle city business from a legal standpoint.

Councilman Almond motioned that the city follow the attorney’s recommendation and impose the moratorium while the attorney attempts to draft a new ordinance. The motion, which was included under the old business part of the agenda, passed 4-0. (Councilman Adams was not in attendance for the second consecutive meeting because of  health-related issues)

Rutledge Cafe was listed on the agenda under new business as an applicant for a new pouring license, but in light of the motion which had just passed Mecklin suggested tabling the item for the time being.

He stated that he would meet with the Rutledge Cafe license applicant to apprise them of the situation and answer any questions they might have. He assured them that the process would take no longer than 90 days and could very well happen sooner.

Several citizens were on hand to make public comments about the alcohol matter. Kathy Purgason stated that she was against the issuing of a license because of the effects she felt it would have on local crime.

Kathy Purgason Public Comment from HeardCitizen.com on Vimeo.

Ruby Almon told the council that although she didn’t drink alcohol anymore she felt that licenses should be issued to businesses who want to sell alcohol legally. She also stated that several people in attendance at the meeting had probably consumed alcohol before they arrived. Finally she mentioned a flyer that she had seen posted at the Piggly Wiggly.

Ruby Almon Public Comment from HeardCitizen.com on Vimeo.

Dwight McClinton, Carrie Rutledge, and Cleveland Rutledge, Jr. also made public comments about the flyer. Cleveland Rutledge, Jr. expressed that whomever had spread the flyer could expect to hear from his attorney.

Carrie/Cleveland Rutledge, Jr. Public Comment from HeardCitizen.com on Vimeo.

Dwight McClinton Public Comment from HeardCitizen.com on Vimeo.

The Heard Citizen can confirm that the flyer was passed around town by City Councilman Jimmy Hamil. The handwritten flyer contained information about the council meeting and the fact that the Rutldege Cafe had applied for a license. It stated that giving the Cafe a license would open the door for other establishments to obtain a license.

Letter Spread around Franklin by City Councilman Jimmy Hamil

According to the flyer: “Fightings, shootings, and killings were common place most every weekend during the 40’s, 50’s , and 60’s when several beer joints existed. Now we are faced with a place where drugs, gambling, and prostitution are commonplace.” The flyer also listed names, phone numbers, and cell phone numbers of the Mayor and all councilmen.

The Mayor told the citizens in attendance that the city was in no way responsible for the flyers. During council comments, Councilman Rogers  stated that he did not appreciate his name being put on the flyers which he felt were “a tacky and distasteful attack on the Rutledges.” Councilman Manders made no comment.

Hamil commented towards those in attendance that he would not be intimidated by threats of lawsuits about his flyers or anything else. Hamil stated that in the past he had been a part of the fighting, drinking, etc. every weekend but that now he was just trying to do what was right.

Councilmen Bo Almond issued a challenge to the county commissioners for a “biggest loser” weight loss contest with the losers being forced to sit on the front row at the winner’s next meeting.

City Council Comments February Meeting from HeardCitizen.com on Vimeo.

Comments

  1. As an “outsider” in Heard County (I wasn’t born and raised here), I don’t know the council members or the Rutledges on a personal level. I only know what I read in the Weekly Arrest Reports since I’ve moved to this county.
    I looked at all the public comments made on this matter and I would like to address the one made by Ruby Almon. I understand that people may come onto someone’s property or into someone’s business and do things they are not supposed to do. But the property owner or business owner has a responsibility to ensure that illegal activities are not taking place there. It is their responsibility to ask the person(s) that are taking part in illegal activities to leave. If they don’t want to leave, then the owner should call the police himself/herself. I understand that will cause you to lose friends and/or customers, but who needs friends/customers like that anyway?

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  1. […] Hamil distributed a flyer around town prior to last month’s meetings that several Rutledge supporters took exception […]

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