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ABC Board Asks For Ordinance Amendment

News Editor

Patty Murphy, representing the Alcohol Beverage Control Board, appeared before the Dade County Board of Commissioners during the Thursday, June 3 meeting, asking about the possibility of getting a special event permit to sell alcoholic beverages. The current ordinance does not have an event provision.

Murphy spoke to the board on behalf of Valley Vibes Music & Arts Festival LLC, organized and founded by Nate McDaniel and Adam Gann.

Valley Vibes will be Sept. 3-5, at Bella Sera, 525 Doyle Lane, Wildwood. There will be 50 performances across three stages, in addition to an art market, food vendors and professional wrestling. There will be camping overnight at the event. Valley Vibes is expected to bring in at least 1,500 people.

Valley Vibes was first held as a small event in 2019 in Jenkins Park, and was held in 2020 in Walker County. In order to sell alcohol at the 2020 event, McDaniel and Gann had to file a $150 application fee, submit to a background check and a review by county officials, and paid a $300 fee for the permit.

McDaniel and Gann do not want people to bring their own beverages. They would like to have a contracted third party sell alcoholic beverages, which would be sold from 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday and noon to midnight on Saturday.

Murphy noted that the Alcohol Beverage Control Board supports the amending of the ordinance, but would need the commissioners to approve it.

“The ABC Board has had a lot of requests from the wedding venues that have come into the county recently, about how to serve alcohol. We have allowed the customers to bring their own, the equivalent of brown bagging. Maybe we want to look at some process or procedure for permitting alcohol at those events as well,” County Attorney Robin Rogers said.

“These are not just your average people putting up a tent and selling,” County Executive Ted Rumley said. “These are legitimate people that are trained and can tell if a person has over consumed. They are licensed, bonded and insured.”

A decision was not made at the meeting, but Rumley told McDaniel and Gann that he would be in touch with them.

Also at the meeting, Financial Officer Don Townsend spoke about the American Rescue Plan, the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.

“There has been a lot of talk about this across the country. The county received half of those funds as promised. We were estimated to get about $3.1 million and we got about half of that in the bank in late May. It was a $1.9 trillion grant for the whole country. It is to respond to the economic effects of the pandemic,” Townsend said.

The second half of the $3.1 million will be delivered 12 months later.

Suggestions on what to use the funds on include public health response, addressing negative economic impacts, replacing public sector revenue loss, premium pay for essential workers, broadband infrastructure, water and sewer infrastructure, and equity-focused services.

“We are trying to spend it appropriately. It’s a lot of information to take in. We are going to have different people requesting it in different ways,” Townsend said.

The board gave notice that there will be a public hearing on June 17 at 5 p.m. to discuss the proposed fiscal year 2022 budget, and a special called meeting on June 24 to consider adoption of the budget.

The board also approved the purchase of four 700/800 MHz emergency portable radios for the New Home Fire Department, for $11,889, with SPLOST funds.

Commissioner Lamar Lowery reported that there were 3,416 calls for the month. EMS had 188 calls, Fire Department had 220, and the Trenton Police, Sheriffs and Georgia State Patrol had 3,008 calls.

Commissioner Phillip Hartline reported that there have been over 175 games played at the sports complex.

“We had a scrimmage game with rec baseball. The team was from Lookout Mountain, Tenn., side, and we got compliments of how nice our facilities were,” Hartline said.

Commissioner Melissa C. Bradford reported that there were 228 work orders for the road department and 613 tons of trash.

Commissioner Robert Goff was absent, due to being at a training session.

Rumley reported that unemployment is at 2.3 percent.

“We are one of the lowest in all of Georgia. We are the lowest in northwestern Georgia, that is something to brag about,” Rumley said.

“We had a really good turnout for the Memorial Day event,” Rumley said. “The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. We appreciate our veterans. Thank goodness for them, they lost their lives for us to be here today.”

Rumley also noted that him and Lowery went to a workshop seminar in Catoosa County that was sponsored by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.

“It was well attended. We had a good day for Dade County because we brought back some good information about money that was available,” Rumley said.

A representative from Senator Raphael Warnock’s office also came to the county a few weeks ago, and was given a tour by William Back, Executive Director of Industrial Development Authority.

Marshana Sharp with the Dade County Library reported that the summer reading program is in full swing. Programs are planned for each week.

The library is partnering with the school to distribute meals. The schools are giving the meals out in the morning and the library is distributing from 4-5 p.m., on Wednesdays.

“We gave out 71 lunches out last week and we ran out,” Sharp said.

Sarah Dyer, UGA Extension Agent, reported that 4-H has kicked off the 2021 Chick-to-Chicken Project. Students will raise the chicks over the next six months and then compete in the chicken show and sale of champions in November.

The 4-H Livestock Show Team will travel to Cullman, Ala., later this month for their first show.

The next Tri-State Cattlemen’s Association meeting will be Tuesday, June 15 at 6 p.m. at Colmore Farms on Lookout Mountain.

George Williams, Chairman of Alliance for Dade, reported that there are 72 investors. The next Lunch and Learn event is planned for Aug. 5. Chattanooga news anchor David Carroll will be the speaker.

Williams also noted that the number of visitors at the Welcome Center are up for the months of April and May. About 20-25 out-of-county visitors have visited each month.

William Back reported that the IDA is working on bringing the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission and colleagues in Chattanooga together with the Alliance for Dade to develop some tourism programs, particularly trail systems.

“We would like to see some trail systems in Chattanooga joined with those in Dade County,” Back said.

Townsend gave the financial report. The general fund balance as of the end of May was $3,196,213. The 2015 SPLOST funds projects account has $284,956. The general fund revenue as of the end of April was $617,799.08. The monthly budget for April was $459,106.27. SPLOST revenue for May was $233,010.52.

The next County Commission meeting will be July 1.


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