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June 4, 2008

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PO Box 908
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Jefferson, Georgia 30549


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Council May Take Action To Control ‘Aggressive’ Begging
An Economic Indicator?
The Commerce City Council appears poised to ban “very aggressive” panhandling Monday night.
The council is prepared to amend the city code to pass an ordinance “to regulate begging or soliciting, to place restrictions on such activities, to provide for definitions and for other purposes.”
The council meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Commerce Room of the Commerce Civic Center.
“The police department says they need some assistance in trying to help move some of these folks through town,” explained City Manager Clarence Bryant. “When the economy gets bad, these people come out of the woodwork.”
The ordinance recognizing that “begging or soliciting” is “deemed not unlawful” but it draws the line at the “accosting” of residences — “in such a manner as would cause a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act upon his or her person, or upon property in his or her immediate possession.”
Basically, the ordinance would give police the ability to arrest someone who continues to panhandle aggressively after being refused, who attempts to block the passage of the individual being solicited “or otherwise engaging in conduct which could reasonably be construed as intended to compel to force a person to accede to demands.”
The council will also approve its 2008-09 budget, but not before a final work session to be held Thursday at 5 p.m.
Other Items
Other items on the agenda for Monday night include:
•an amendment to the city alcohol ordinance to allow consumption of alcohol during special events — such as the City Lights Festival later this month
•a decision by the city council to attempt to purchase 10 megawatts of nuclear power from the two units being added to Plant Vogtle. The city is unlikely to be able to purchase that much, and the purchase would be divided so that the city gets up to five megawatts in 2016-17 when the plant comes online and sells the remaining megawatts for 20 years to a third party.
•the reappointment of Archie D. Chaney to the Commerce Housing Authority
•the reappointment of Sam Chaney to the Commerce Library Board
•discussion of a possible amendment to the zoning ordinance related to accessory buildings


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