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Andrew Meredith spends last night on Galt City Council looking to future

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Posted: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 12:00 am

Tuesday night’s Galt City Council meeting was bittersweet, with Councilman Andrew Meredith sitting for his final forum on the council.

Meredith is moving to Flouroning to be closer to his job and spend more time with his family. However, while Meredith did take the opportunity to reflect back on his time in office, he didn’t let his resignation stop him from looking to Galt’s future.

Shop Local, a committee that promotes local businesses within the area, moved to open a beer garden at the Galt Farmers’ Market. The council opposed the installation 3-2.

Meredith spoke out against the beer garden, arguing that beer does not belong at a family function. He said there is no precedence for the alcohol, as Galt has never served alcoholic beverages at their sponsored events.

Citing a responsibility to the public, both Meredith and Councilmember Donald Haines said they worried about the message and possible hazards drunk members of the community could send to young children.

City attorney Steve Rudolph said there was a low probability that any alcohol-related accidents could be tied back to the city in a legal proceeding.

For Councilwoman Barbara Payne, the beer garden is a wonderful opportunity to attract more attendees to the market. She commended Shop Local for their hard work and attention to the event’s growth, and said there was nothing wrong with sitting down to a beer amongst friends.

Any unauthorized beer booths would be against a city ordinance that states no alcoholic beverages may be sold outside a place of business, even if it is private property.

A city police officer called for a possible compromise by mandating the beer garden file for a special events permit that would require them to provide their own security, taking a burden off the city should something go wrong.

Still, Meredith was unconvinced.

“If this works, 14 times out of 15 it’s still going to be a losing scenario,” Meredith said, “... and I just don’t think we should take that risk.”

After the vote, the council heard a presentation on recycled water. Gregg Halladay, the Galt Director of Public Works, said the infrastructure required to move recycled water to where it is needed is more expensive than simply pumping ground water.

Also on the agenda was a status update on the Twin Cities Road interim interchange improvements that includes plans for two roundabouts. The new infrastructure hopes to address congestion issues and growth within the area.

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