Carrollton City Council officials moved toward putting a Sunday alcohol package sales referendum on the November ballot, voted to acquire a large tract of land that may benefit West Georgia Technical College, and paved the way for a possible solar energy project during their regular meeting Monday night.
Council members agreed that the issue of Sunday alcohol package sales could move forward, after it was determined that a majority of the council members did not object. Mayor Wayne Garner had told council members that the matter was “not for a vote” but “just for discussion.”
Placing such an item on the ballot would require considerable staff time and other city resources for research, legal advertising and a public discussion. Garner explained that he wanted to determine the sense of the council before locking the city into such a process.
Garner told the council that the request for putting the liquor sales issue on the agenda had come from the management of the Kroger grocery store. Beginning the process now would give the issue plenty of lead time to be added as a referendum on the November ballot.
The council also voted to purchase 118 acres of land – a move that could benefit West Georgia Technical College, which is cramped for space at its current location on Newnan Road.
The property, to be purchased with $325,000 in Community Development Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds, is located on Esco Way, about three miles from WGTC’s central campus.
There are immediate plans to use a small portion of the property to build the school’s athletic complex, leaving plenty of space for future WTGC facilities. The school is currently located on a 14-acre lot, with no room to expand for its growing needs.
City Manager Casey Coleman explained that it was hoped that the EscoWay property would allow the college to remain in a central location in Carroll County without having to expand elsewhere.
The council voted to approve the plan with Councilman Mike Patterson recusing himself. Patterson explained he was acquainted with a person who had approached the city with the deal.
In other business, the council discussed a proposal by an Atlanta-based solar energy provider to construct a facility on city-owned property.
Inman Solar is seeking permission from Georgia Power to build a facility that would sell some of the energy produced by a photovoltaic system back to the utility; a project that company officials have told the city could also generate $500,000 in city revenues over time. To proceed with their application, however, Inman must demonstrate that it has access to land to build the facility.
Coleman told council members that the company needed an answer soon, since it was presenting its application to Georgia Power this week. Coleman proposed that the city lease to the company two four-acre lots on the city-owned Hobbs Farm property, located between Stewart and Rome streets.
The idea of such a green project being located in the city limits met with approval of the council, which gave Coleman permission to issue the company a letter of intent. If eventually built, the solar plant would have negligible impact on the environment and could also be used as a teaching tool for area students.
In other business, the council discussed turning over the renovation and expansion of Lakeshore Center over to an inmate work crew, after it became apparent the project could not be built by outside contractors for the bid specified.
Coleman reported to the council that by using skilled inmate labor, the project could be done at a 30 percent savings, although the project might take several months longer to complete. However, the council approved moving forward with the plan based on the fact that a Department of Corrections work crew had done the work on the recently renovated Carrollton Depot, a project which has received wide praise.