Hardy Mayor Nina Thornton invited the public to share their ideas with the city council regarding options the city has if the issue is approved by voters.
The discussion was mostly centered around whether or not to allow the sale of alcohol in the city limits. Other discussions included the possibility of allowing alcohol in restaurants but not allowing taverns in the city limits.
Several Hardy residents spoke before the council voicing their opinion on the issue, although there were no restaurants represented.
Pastor Roger Brewer of the Lighthouse Apostolic Church praised the city of Hardy for being proactive in their efforts to address the issue. He said he believes the majority of the citizens of Hardy are, "Christ believing citizens and would not want this in their town." He said the city will also be taking on extra baggage and would require more police force. He asked that the city take a stand and do the right thing.
Linda Wiles also spoke before the city council telling them that as a resident of Hardy she did not want to see the city or the county become wet.
Bobby Hickinbotham told members of the council that he hopes they do the right thing for the city.
Alderman Bobby Gilliland was more concerned with what the people want. He said that after the vote, the numbers of Hardy voters in favor will be reflected.
Peter Martin also addressed the city council with concern for the commerce in the area. He said that if the city remains dry it essentially eliminates any major chain restaurants who serve alcohol, such as Red Lobster, from looking at the area for new establishments. He went on to explain that the area is comprised of numerous retired persons and persons who have moved to the area from cities which are wet. He said they are used to having a drink with their meal and that this group of over 4,000 in the Cherokee Village area alone, could add a lot to the local economy. He said detering eateries who serve liquor seemed to be the equivalent of taking vital taxes from the community.
Gilliland followed up saying that local restaurants are a large part of the economy. He said, although, the downtown shops are very nice, the restaurants in the area are where the money is generated. Thornton added, "Everyone has to eat."
Next on the agenda was the potential of putting a four way stop at Spring and Fourth Streets.
In other old business, Hardy Police Chief Ernie Rose told the city council that he recommended allowing the Hardy United Methodist Church to put up a flashing caution sign on Spring Street to help address the speeding issue on the street that endangers church goers who must park on the street. The church agreed to provide the sign at no cost to the city, but members were present to ask council's permission to put up the sign. The sign would be placed on city property. Council voted to allow Rose to approve the placement of the sign in the proper area.
The church also asked that the city consider allowing a crosswalk on the street. One member said that a lot of the church's elderly must cross the street. Alderman Bobby Gilliland said, he felt that placement of a cross walk might create a false sense of security to those crossing, as a crosswalk does not guarantee traffic will stop. There is no sign requiring motorist to do so, only a cross hatched painting on the asphalt. Since area residents are not used to a crosswalk in this area, Gilliland felt this might be more of a problem than help in the situation. City council agreed to table the vote on whether or not to allow a crosswalk. The topic will be discussed more thoroughly and brought up at a future meeting.
In other business, Mayor Thornton suggested updating the current dog ordinance. She said there have been complaints in the area about a dog killing area cats. After reviewing the current policy, which was amended in 2000, there were no provisions on what to do in this type of a situation. The topic was tabled pending further suggestions and research into potential remedies.
Hardy's Water Superintendent Billy Gilbreath gave the water department report and asked council's advice on how to address water bill shut-offs. The council agreed to continue placing shut-off notices on the customer's door on orange colored paper prior to shut-off, to allow the water customer to make payment before being disconnected. Thornton said Hardy is the only city that does the shut-off notices and as a courtesy to customers, the city would continue with their current procedure.
Upcoming events were announced for the area. On the agenda is music in the Hardy Gym on Sept. 19 and Oct. 3. Other activities include the upcoming Pow Wow Sept. 25-27, in Loberg Park and the FNBC Flea Market, Sept. 26, in the bank parking lot.
The next regular meeting of the Hardy City Council will be held Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.