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Coweta Emergency Management ordinance under review

The renewal of the Coweta County Emergency Management Ordinance that was on the Coweta County Commission agenda July 24 was pulled before it could be discussed. The model ordinance required by the Ga. Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) contained some language that county officials questioned and is currently under review for presentation at a later date.

The Coweta County EMA Ordinance was a part of the July 24 agenda that was published electronically and was available online. But some of the specifics of the ordinance required further review and resulted in it being pulled from the agenda even though it had been published, said County Administrator Theron Gay.

One of the items in the lengthy state-required model ordinance that generated citizen attendance and concern at the meeting dealt with the section on “additional emergency powers.” A subsection under additional emergency powers would give a county the ability “to suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives and flammable liquids and substances during a declared emergency." And it was the inclusion of restrictions pertaining to firearms that had citizens questioning the ordinance.

“We were going to recommend that the commission not approve some of the things in the model ordinance,” Gay said, adding that the county attorney had been notified prior to the Tuesday meeting that the ordinance needed further review before being presented for consideration by commissioners.

Commenting on the issue, Coweta EMA Director Jay Jones noted that commissioners have the option to delete certain portions of the ordinance contained in the “Additional emergency powers” section.

“Those are options that the county can leave in or take out,” Jones said.

Other provisions that are mandatory during a declared emergency are those such as curfews and the prohibition on price gouging, Jones said.

The model ordinance is one that is required by GEMA to be renewed every four years. The model ordinance had been passed from GEMA to the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia for vetting and onto the various counties for action.

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