Committee drafts recommendations to curb alcohol misuse on Tybee Island

Local News

TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – Tybee Island City Council says 60 percent of arrests last year involved alcohol. The public has a chance to weigh in on 10 possible solutions to get consumption under control.

An alcohol ordinance workgroup — containing members nominated by the city council — came together to suggest the changes. It was formed after an alcohol ordinance failed late last year that would have temporarily restricted open containers south of 14th Street.

In other words, they answered this question: “What alternative ideas can we come up with that aren’t as impactful that the citizens can live with?” said City Manager Shawn Gillen.

Recommendations put forth by the Alcohol Ordinance Work Group

City council members say the recommendations are a draft. Tuesday’s public meeting will determine what changes need to be made, what needs to be added and what needs to be taken away.

Among other things, the draft suggests increasing pay for public safety personnel, investing in better camera technology, and creating safety checkpoints.

Gillen says making those changes will require a variety of actions, including budget adjustments, ordinances and internal policy changes.

City council, for example, will vote Tuesday on an amendment to complete construction and rehabilitation work on the old Marine Science Center. The committee hopes the city will use it as a video monitoring station for police.

“What they recommended are all budgetarily feasible. We may have to make some changes in the budget and realign our priorities but it’s not impossible,” said Gillen.

The committee is making clear though that any additional costs will fall on the reason for the changes: tourists. Gillen says that could come in the form of additional taxes or parking fees, but says the committee is exploring all options.

“The reason we have so many police officers and lifeguards and things like that is not because of the residents that actually live here, it is because of the visitors,” he said.

Anyone was able to participate in Tuesday’s Zoom meeting to voice their opinion on the recommended changes.

Committee members will meet again to make changes and finalize their recommendations. They will be presented to the city council at a meeting on Jan. 28.

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