Homer city officials recently met with members of the Banks County school board to discuss a proposed increase in water rates.

Councilman Jerry Payne reported at the city council meeting last week that the board members main issue with the increase revolves around how it will impact the school system's operating budget for the remainder of the current school year.

Payne said if the council approves an increase in rates to take effect the first of the year, the impact will increase the schools operating expenses during the last six months of its budget cycle. The council agreed to notify the school board prior to implementing the rate increase.

The council is looking into a grant to fund a study to determine the feasibility of the city constructing a sewer system. Payne said the school board is receptive to the idea of the city pursuing the possibility of providing sewer services to its customers.

ALCOHOL ORDINANCE

In other business at the Homer City Council meeting, the council approved an amendment to the distilled spirts and beer and wine sales by the drink ordinance. The change will impact the monthly reporting requirements for assessment of a three percent excise tax. The holder of a license to serve alcohol by the drink will be required to submit to the city a monthly report reflecting sales of alcohol along with food sales.

In addition, the ordinance approved in 1998 exempted amusement centers from food sale requirements. Citizens approved a referendum earlier this year to authorize Sunday sales of beer, wine and distilled spirits by the drink.

The state statute says in order to sell on Sunday, the business will have to have a 50 percent food sales requirement. The ordinance amendment will make the city’s regulations consistent with state requirements to incorporate guidelines for food sales.

City attorney David Syfan noted, with the food requirements, the nature of the community with not be affected by a bar opening within the town with no intention of meeting the minimum food sales requirement.

STREET ORDINANCE

The council also approved street construction specifications for new developments. As more development comes to the city, new subdivisions will present new streets into the municipal street system. Once the council accepts a street system within a new development, the city will be forever responsible for its maintenance. To ensure the streets are constructed properly where they will not be a burden on the city, the council approved minimum street construction specifications for developers to follow. The town will be required to have a qualified agent to ensure the specifications are met.

COUNCIL COMPENSATION

The council approved an amendment to the town charter to increase compensation for the mayor and council earlier this year. According to Syfan, to be formally approved, the council should have approved the changes during two consecutive meetings. In order to meet that requirement, the council voted to approve the changes and a second vote will take place at the December meeting.

Currently, each member receives $35 per meeting. The changes will allow the mayor to receive compensation of $75 and each council member to receive $50 for each meeting attended on behalf of the city. The changes will take place following the next election for each position.

The council also met in executive session to discuss possible litigation.

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