Business owners in Haralson County whose county-issued licenses have lapsed will be able to renew them without having to pay all their past-due fees.
The plan to forgive past-due license fees is designed to offer a break to owners of companies who stopped doing business during the recession, but who now wish to resume operations. Because some of these businesses have been shuttered for months – in some cases years – their owners had potentially faced paying large back-fees when they went to renew their licenses. During their Oct. 2 regular session, the Haralson County Board of Commissioners voted to waive those fees.
District 2 Commissioner Jamie Bennett announced at the meeting that the Board had decided to allow businesses to become current by paying for the current year, plus one year in arrears.
District 3 Commissioner Vance Posey said that seasonal businesses – such as lawn mowing services – should not have to have a license at all; neither, he said, should people who give piano lessons.
District 1 Commissioner Eric Robinson conceded that while tutors should be exempt, he felt the plan was not fair to those businesses that have kept their licenses current despite the hard times. He said that if exemptions were going to be set, the board needed to establish criteria.
In other matters, the commissioners moved to close a portion of Garner Road so as to prevent its access to trespassers.
During their Sept. 4 meeting, commissioners heard complaints that those trespassers had been dumping trash, starting fires and causing trouble for pulpwooding companies working in the area. The commissioners had decided to physically block off that section of the road west of Harper’s Creek and then begin the process of legally closing the road, which would require the permission of property owners.
Chairman Allen Poole announced at the meeting that the plan had since been advertised and that all affected property owners had been notified. Those who own property on the road will still have access from the unclosed portion.
Eric Robinson asked what would be the county’s responsibility after constructing berms and other obstructions to close the roadway. County Attorney Meng Lim said the responsibility for keeping it closed off would eventually revert to the homeowners.
The Commissioners unanimously tabled a discussion of appointments to the Development Authority until the Oct. 17 work session.
Chairman Poole announced that the terms of five members of the Development Authority were expiring, but that only two wished to be reappointed: Donnie Boswell for Buchanan and Richard Davis for Tallapoosa. This would mean that the position for Waco and two at-large posts would be vacant.
The Authority had sent three recommendations to the Commissioners, but Poole said some new candidates had come forward and requested the appointments be tabled so as to give all candidates an equal opportunity to be considered.
Also, the Commissioners unanimously approved a beer and wine license to Ridley’s Quick Stop and Ridley’s Feed/One after it was reported that all legal requirements had been met.
The Commissioners also appointed County Clerk Alison Palmer to serve as Open Records Officer, fulfilling a policy required under Georgia law. Palmer had already been handling open records requests and will continue to do so.
The Commissioners approved a proclamation honoring Sgt. James Watson, United States Marine Corps, in appreciation of his 27 years of military service. Watson, of Bremen, was unable to attend because he is still on active duty.
In the public participation portion of the meeting, Jennie English of the Chamber of Commerce reminded all those attending the meeting that the Grow Team Haralson Small Business Expo will be held at Sewell Mill on Oct. 11 from 4 to 7 p.m. The expo is designed to be an opportunity for many small businesses in the county to make themselves known to the wider community.