Problematic pubs may lose alcohol privileges

The Albany Board of Commissioners meet for the last time in 2012. / Jessica Fairley

In their last meeting of the year, the Albany Board of Commissioners made a decision that may help curb crime in the Albany area.

From year to year, Albany commissioners usually approve business alcohol licenses in bulk, but now the commission has taken a different route by only approving a few.

"There were a few businesses that the Albany Police Department identified as problematic. They have a lot of calls for service at those locations and we're going to have a hearing to determine if their alcohol license should be renewed," said Bob Langstaff, Mayor Pro-tem.

Some of the businesses included bars and nightclubs. The board will have a meeting in January to make a decision about the fate of their alcohol licenses.

Since the board did not approve the alcohol license of several businesses, they extended their alcohol license default date from December 31 until the commissioners are able to meet about the matter in January.

While the commission made a motion to try and curb crime, they also voted against rezoning the property in the Albany Square to accommodate a dental office. This is in hopes of keeping current businesses happy.

"Publix is an anchor tenant and if Publix was to move out then the other four or five businesses in there that rely on the consumers that visit Publix would lose a lot of foot traffic," said Joe Dent, Attorney for Watson Spence LLP.

Dent says if Publix leaves the area it would also affect the city's tax revenue.

The issue of rezoning wasn't the only issue on the agenda that had commissioners thinking in dollar signs. The board voted to increase the hotel motel tax from seven cents to eight.

"The additional money raised will go to offset the cost of the Civic Center. That's where the money that we have been getting is going to," said Wes Smith, Asst. Manager for Albany.

The tax increase would add an annual net growth increase of about $200,000 for the city.

"About $725,000 goes to the marketing organization, which in this case is the Chamber and the Convention and Visitors Bureau and about $925,000 will end up going to the Civic Center," said Wes Smith.

The tax increase motion will now head to the general assembly for approval.