Live Oak — The Live Oak City Council met on Tuesday night for their regular monthly meeting. Here are some highlights from the meeting.
Alcohol hours extended
Council members voted 4-1 Tuesday night to extend the hours of alcohol sales to 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. the following day, Sunday through Saturday, including hard liquor.
Councilor Jacob Grantham was the vote against.
This was the final reading of the ordinance. However, the extension is not in effect yet. Now the passage of the ordinance awaits the decision of Mayor Sonny Nobles. Should Nobles decide to sign the ordinance, it will become city law. If he doesn’t sign it and fails to present objections to the council by their next regular meeting, it will, by default, become city law. However, if Nobles does not approve and presents objections to the council, the passing of the ordinance could die. Should the council decide to override the mayor’s decision, four out of five councilmen would have to vote in favor of overriding him.
The mayor has until the next regular monthly meeting on Mar. 19 to render a decision.
Building department merger fails
An interlocal agreement to merge the building departments for Suwannee County and the city of Live Oak came to a halt Tuesday night.
At a previous meeting, the council authorized City Attorney Erny Sellers to create an interlocal agreement between the county and the city. The new draft copy of the agreement would put the city in place to absorb the county’s building department instead of the other way around.
Previously, the city considered the county absorbing their building department, which would have ended the employment of Live Oak Building Official Roy Rogers, a licensed nine year veteran of the city and given all inspection duties to the county’s official, an interim who is not fully licensed and who failed the recent certification test. County Administrator Randy Harris is currently advertising the position and seeks to hire a certified building official.
Since the last council meeting, Prins said he met with Suwannee County Commissioner Wesley Wainwright and Harris. According to Prins, in that conversation that happened just days ago, the county officials suggested to Prins that they (the council) develop an agreement that would satisfy the board, approve it, and then send it to county commission for their review. The agreement would go back and forth between the two boards until it could be agreed upon by both parties.
However, Councilor Keith Mixon said he also had a conversation weeks ago with Wainwright and Harris. According to Mixon, Wainwright and Harris said they are not privy to the measure.
Mixon also said that Sellers informed him that there’s no provisions in the city charter that allows the city to perform work in the county. Furthermore, the city would open its doors to extended liability and a great wealth of problems that it could cause.
Grantham and Prins favored the idea of consolidating the departments.
“I think it’s a great idea. It’s about the idea of reducing the size of government,” Prins said.
Councilors John Yulee, Bennie Thomas and Mixon opposed the idea.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Thomas said. “Our building department is doing fine and I think it should stay the same.”
“Sometimes, just consolidating something isn’t your answer,” Mixon said.
The decision to proceed with an interlocal agreement died from a lack of support.