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Albany City Commission approves Family Dollar alcohol license

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Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 5:57 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Liquor licenses have become a hot topic at the Albany City Commission meetings.

Commissioners continue to disagree on if more licenses hurt economic development and people living in the city.

The Family Dollar on Dawson Road just recently got their alcohol license, but not without some disagreement between city commissioners.

Some say if they’re qualified for the license why deny them and others say there’s already too many stores who sell alcohol.

Jon Howard is the commissioner for Ward 1.
Jon Howard is the commissioner for Ward 1.(WALB)

Commissioner Jon Howard said increasing access to alcohol is not bringing growth to Albany, adding recent data showing nearly 8,000 people leaving Dougherty County and the city should show there needs to be a change.

“If we continue to approve these, they are going to be some challenges this commission cannot overcome,” said Howard.

Demetrius Young is the commissioner for Ward 6.
Demetrius Young is the commissioner for Ward 6.(WALB)

Commissioner Demetrius Young agreed, adding that 8,000 people didn’t leave just because of alcohol licenses, but because of declining quality of life.

“It’s a shame in Albany, Ga., you have to catch three busses to get a fresh tomato or produce but alcohol is readily available within a short walk,” said Young.

Jalen Johnson is the commissioner for Ward 2.
Jalen Johnson is the commissioner for Ward 2.(WALB)

Commissioner Jalen Johnson said alcohol is not the main contributor to the quality of life. He said even if you deny an outlet their license, there’s countless other places someone can go.

“We can say no to every single one after today (but that) won’t change the fact there are still dozens of others. I don’t understand depriving one business the right to thrive when we’ve already given the reigns to others to thrive,” said Johnson.

Chad Warbington is the commissioner for Ward 4.
Chad Warbington is the commissioner for Ward 4.(WALB)

Commissioner Chad Warbington said there are other ways to improve quality of life like working with the youth, improving recreation and housing stock. Trying to create a solution, Warbington said they could try and change the ordinance.

“We have a lot of these transfers that come in front of us a lot. Maybe if legally, we can put a policy in place that says once it’s transferred two times in three years, you can’t do that anymore, sorry,” said Warbington.

In a 5-2 vote, the commission did grant Family Dollar its alcohol license.

The city commission also decided to table grant funding that would help with the Rails to Trails project.

Tabeling a $700,000 grant from GDOT. The interim assistant city manager said if they used that grant to help with the preliminary engineering process, there’s no guarantee they would get the rest of the funds needed to cover the whole project. They plan to rediscuss the issue at their next commission meeting.

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