By John Ayers
The Gilchrist County Commission took a step closer to approving Sunday alcohol sales. On Monday afternoon they voted 5-0 to amend Ordinance 80-1 to approve Sunday alcohol sales in the unincorporated areas of Gilchrist County. The five-member Commission was addressed by Stoney Smith, representing the convenience stores located in the rural areas of Gilchrist County. He told the Commission that the people have spoken, as they approved the alcohol referendum by 58%, 1282 votes were cast in favor of alcohol sales on Sunday from 7 a.m. until 12 p.m.
Commissioner Sharon Langford explained that she would like to see a workshop held by the board before the ordinance is changed.
Commissioner Chairman Todd Gray was also in favor of the Commission taking a closer look at Ordinance 80-1 that at this time prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sunday in the rural areas of Gilchrist County. Mr. Gray, serving his last meeting on the Gilchrist County Commission, pointed out that some of the political advertisement were blanket mailed to residents of Gilchrist County indicated that the passage of the alcohol referendum would improve the roads in Gilchrist County. He explained that sales tax funding to Gilchrist County is not budgeted to improve roads, this was a false advertisement, Chairman Gray explained.
Commissioner Marion Poitevint made a motion to direct Attorney Lang to amend the alcohol ordinance to allow Sunday alcohol sales from 7 a.m. until 12 p.m. in the unincorporated areas of Gilchrist County. Commissioner Kenrick Thomas gave a second to the proposal before the board voted unanimous in support of the motion.
County Administrator Bobby Crosby reported that the County staff has searched through several bags of trash that was dumped at different locations of the refuge collection sites. Mr. Crosby explained that fifteen names and addresses of people were found in the trash. He asked the Commission what they wanted the County staff to do with these names? Should they submit these individuals to the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office for prosecution or not? Mr. Crosby explained that Gilchrist County is striving to improve the solid waste collection service and reduce the rising expenses that are associated with cleaning up trash that is dumped at these sites after dark and on the weekends. Chairman Gray explained, “If people don’t follow the rules of dumping trash at these locations, they should be fined.” The board agreed to go forward and have the Gilchrist County Sheriff begin prosecution of these violators. Mr. Crosby reported that the first offense is $100 and it increases each time the violation is identified.
Mr. Crosby gave the Commission an update on the funding of the CARES program in Gilchrist County. He reported that the deadline for applications has past, but the three stages of funding for the applications in Gilchrist County has been approved. At this time the latest applications for funding are being reviewed and these applications are expected to receive a total of $200K in CARES funding.
The Commissioners thanked Chairman Todd Gray for serving two terms representing District 3 in Gilchrist County. Mr. Gray thanked each of the board members for working together for Gilchrist. He pointed out that this board didn’t always agree on all the issues, they were able to reach a decision that benefited Gilchrist County. The County Administrator presented Mr. Gray with a plague thanking him for serving Gilchrist County for eight years. Mr. Crosby asked Todd Gray if he would volunteer to serve on the Gilchrist County Economic Development board. Mr. Gray explained that he has always tried to work for economic development in Gilchrist County and yes, he, would serve on this board.
The Commission held a Special meeting on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 to allow Commissioner Darrell Smith, to accept the Oath of Office representing District 3 in Gilchrist County. The Commission will also elect a new Chairman and Vice Chairman for the Gilchrist County Commission.