Hoschton leaders welcomed a new public service moving its headquarters into the town from Winder. The Piedmont Rape Crisis Center, which serves the Banks, Barrow and Jackson counties, just signed a lease on a new office in a separate building at Town Center in Hoschton. On Monday, the council decided to grant the nonprofit a special business license due to being a 501c3 organization.
City Clerk Ali Merk told the council that she is revamping the procedures for someone coming in to apply for a business license in Hoschton.
“Before the Piedmont Rape Crisis Center finished their business license, they wanted to know if there would be an adjusted fee schedule because they are a 501c3. Currently, we do not have that. It is the same fee,” said Merk.
Darryl Gumz and Robert Schueneman, who serve on the organization’s board, spoke at the meeting. The men, at the meeting, told the council that the rape crisis center did not have a business license in Winder.
Mitchell said if the council wants to waive the business license fee, it can, if the “business” serves “a public purpose and they serve some sort of public need.”
Schueneman told the council the center relocated because it served both Jackson and Barrow counties and wanted to be centrally located.
“The City of Winder has been very good to us,” Schueneman. “We felt that it would be beneficial to the program. We’re really excited about not just coming up, but coming up and being a part of the community. Our desire to serve the victims of this terrible crime - and that is the service that we provide to the community, to serve adult victims- is where our passion is and we’re really appreciative of you guys. Hopefully, we can form a really good working relationship here.”
The Piedmont Rape Crisis Center provides counseling and advocate services to adult rape victims and accompanies victims to rape exams at hospitals.
“We’re professional hand-holders,” said Gumz, to the council. “We have one full-time employee, Susan Cash. She tells you she’s a professional hand-holder. She will walk with the victims from start to finish as they go through the legal process with law enforcement with the investigators to the hospital through the counseling. All the different things that need to happen.”
On a separate issue, Monday night’s meeting was a little different than previous council meetings. The work session and voting session were combined into one meeting. Both meetings, held back to back, lasted approximately 30 minutes.
“We’ve been having work sessions on Thursday night and then we come in here on Monday night and have voting sessions,” mayor Theresa Kenerly explained at the start of Monday’s work session. On our work session, everyone gets to talk and speak and we all get to talk about lots of different things. At the work session, all we do is come in here on Monday nights and vote. The city council wanted to try something different… We’ll see how this works for a while and give it a chance to keep everybody from having to come out for five or ten minutes both nights when we don’t have a lot on the agenda.”
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