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Posted: July 12, 2011 8:06 p.m.

Porterdale pursues Sunday package sales

Attorney: June 28 meeting did not break law

Porterdale is moving closer to a public vote on Sunday package sales.

The Porterdale City Council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance Monday that would allow Sunday alcohol package sales from 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. if the public approves a referendum this fall. The council is expected to approve a referendum at a later date.

In other city news, Porterdale Attorney Tim Chamber said the city council did not break the law when it went into executive session at its June 28 called meeting.
The executive session was held to discuss what to do with applications for the open positions of judge and solicitor. Councilman Robert Foxworth refused to participate because he said an executive session notice was not on the called meeting agenda. Based on his understanding of the law, Foxworth said the council could not discuss anything not listed on the called meeting agenda.

Chambers said in his official take that no laws were violated.

"It does not appear that conducting a closed executive session without having placed an executive session as an agenda item for the meeting was done with the intention or purpose of deceiving the public, or was done in such manner as to impede the remedial and protective purposes of the Open and Public Meetings Act," Chambers said at Monday's meeting.

He said the discussion in executive session was allowed to be closed to the public, and noted that subsequent votes took place when open session resumed.

"After review of the above authorities, I cannot conclude that the closure of the meeting was unlawful, or that actions taken after the open, public meeting resumed are invalid, as a matter of law," Chambers said.

Originally, Chambers told The News that his findings were subject to attorney-client privilege, but Councilmember Arline Chapman made a motion to allow his findings to be read in the meeting. Foxworth was the lone member to vote against the motion.

Chapman also read a statement at the end of the meeting.

"Porterdale has taken some real hits lately, and I like to think that we will just pick ourselves up and move on to better things. We will," Chapman said. "For now we seem to have influences among us that in witnessing their own disappointments, would attempt to bring the whole house down with them."

The council also approved the first reading of an ordinance to increase its property tax rate by 2 mills, with Councilwoman Linda Finger voting against.

The city also approved taking out a tax anticipation note to cover its operating expenses until property tax revenues came in, with Finger again the lone opposed vote.

Finally, the council accepted $16,375 in private donations, which entirely pays for the Fourth of July celebration. No public money was used.

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