The Moultrie City Council denied a resident’s request for a business license at its meeting Tuesday, and the denial led the applicant and another attendee to question the council about it.
Calvin Simpson came before the council to request a general business license for occupational tax and regulatory fee from for Third Avenue Grocery, located at 400 Third Ave. N.W. The council took a vote on the request after the city attorney expressed concerns over the application, including its location and public safety concerns. The application was unanimously denied.
Following the vote, Simpson stated everyone has done something in their past, and he should be given a chance to run the store. Simpson, who is black, felt he was being treated differently “than anyone else in Colquitt County” since the council approves licenses for people of other nationalities.
Simpson told the council he did not feel that what they did by denying his request was right and he wanted a chance. He stated he would have someone else apply for the license for him so he could run the store.
During the citizens to be heard section of the meeting, the Rev. Rufus Jolly came before the council to ask why the request was denied. He told the council everyone needs to learn how to forgive and give someone a chance to make something of themselves.
Councilwoman Angela Castellow, who made the motion to deny the application, said she made that motion based on Simpson’s criminal history. He had several incidents included in his history, the most recent of which was from 2005, which she believed was not enough time to approve the request in good conscience. She said 10 years or more was what she believed was enough time passed for someone to have changed.
Councilwoman Susie Magwood-Thomas told Jolly the council looks at criminal histories and credit histories when considered applications. Simpson had 11 pages to his criminal history, which included an alcohol sales to a minor offense, and each incident was not an isolated incident. The council has denied requests from other people for much less, with some denials for people with only two pages to their criminal history.
Jolly told the council he felt confident in walking the area around the store, but Councilwoman Margaret Mathis addressed that concern. She said the area is drug-infested, and the council believed opening a business there would only cause more problems. She went to school with Simpson and knows him, but the council was trying to look out for the community and not hurt him personally with the denial.
Other items addressed by the council included:
• Recognizing Calvin Pollard for his 32 years of service in the city’s Public Works Department.
• Terry Shuler came before the council to give the Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Tourism Report.
• Holding a public hearing regarding a revolving loan fund (RLF) application from Director of Human Resources and Risk Management Dale Williams to inform citizens of the most current RLF application received and to review the progress of previous EIP and/or RLF applications.
• Approving a revolving loan fund (RLF) application from Lauri Jo’s Southern Style Canning, LLC, for up to $100,000.
• Approving a recommendation of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Planning Commission and holding a first and second reading to rezone 0.109 acres at 524 Sixth Ave. N.W., as requested by Lyndon and Nikki Seay, from an R-2 Two Family Residential District to a C-1 Neighborhood Business District.
• Approving a recommendation of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Planning Commission and holding a first and second reading to rezone 2.736 acres at 3100 N. Veterans Parkway, as requested by the Hospital Authority of Colquitt County, from a C-3 Commercial District to an R1-A Single Family Residential District.
• Approving a first and second reading to annex and considering a recommendation of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Planning Commission to zone 0.61 acres at 490 and 496 N. Veterans Parkway as requested by W. Lynn Lasseter.
• Approving a resolution to place a four-way stop at the intersection of Fifth Street Northwest and Sixth Avenue Northwest. The Rev. Alfred Jones, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church, located at the intersection, told the council he was in favor of the resolution because it will cause people to slow down in an area with pedestrian traffic, especially on Sundays.
• Approving an exchange of real property in the East Moultrie Heights subdivision, currently owned by Rosa Carroll, and authorize McIntosh to sign documents required to complete transaction.
• Isabella Brooks, president of the Colquitt County Chapter of the NAACP, came before the council and said her organization is against a proposed Confederate memorial. Jack Bridwell from the Sons of Confederate Veterans requested the 150th anniversary memorial of the War Between the States be placed at a proposed roundabout at the Sylvester Highway, North Main Street and First Street Northeast intersection at the July 5 meeting.
• Approving a resolution to prepare language for a possible change to the city ordinance in response to the Georgia Legislature’s vote on the sale of alcohol on Sundays.