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Emergency Ordinance, business supports extended through July 12

Milton's City Council unanimously passed an amended Emergency Ordinance on Monday evening, extending until July 12 the business supports and other elements of past versions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In what Mayor Joe Lockwood called "an important meeting but ... a quick one," the Council considered a lone agenda item and wrapped up within 10 minutes.

City Attorney Ken Jarrard explained that a local Declaration of Emergency can only last 30 days at a time, requiring the City Council to extend it beyond that. The Council has now done just that on numerous occasions since the original Emergency Ordinance passed in March.

The measure approved during Monday's Special Called Meeting is "in all respects the same as [the] existing Emergency Ordinance" except that it does not re-adopt Milton's Reopening Plan for city government (since that's unnecessary), Jarrard said.

Thus, the amended Ordinance extends several actions meant to help local businesses such as allowing certain temporary signage outside restaurants and retail stores as well as allowing “to go” beer and wine sales from restaurants. The deadline for business license (i.e. Occupational Tax Certificate) renewals now extends through July 12, and alcohol excise tax payments are deferred to the same date.

The midnight July 12 end of Milton's latest Emergency Ordinance corresponds exactly to the duration of Gov. Brian Kemp's statewide emergency declaration.

After being prompted by Council member Paul Moore, Jarrard noted that Milton still cannot be more stringent or lenient than the governor's Order given how it is written.

As with its June 1 meeting, the Mayor and Council members convened in City Hall with special precautions -- like spaced-out seating -- due to the novel coronavirus. The public was welcome to attend, participate via Zoom, or watch live on the City's Facebook page.

The City Council's next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, June 15.