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Decatur City Commission approves alcohol beverage license for restaurant, festivals

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Decatur City Commission approves alcohol beverage license for restaurant, festivals

The Decatur City Commission met on July 18, 2022, to discuss alcohol beverage licenses and a vacation leave buy-back program. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission, at its July 18 meeting, approved alcohol beverage licenses for a new restaurant, La Chiquiada, as well as for the Pan African Festival and Placita Latina.

La Chiquiada held a soft opening recently in the AMLI Decatur mixed-use development. It will is located in a space facing the interior courtyard, which is accessible to the public.

Mayor Patti Garrett said she did the ribbon cutting at the restaurant on Monday.

“They were open this weekend,” Garrett said. “They have a great outdoor seating patio and I think it’s a really charming addition to our downtown restaurant scene. I was happy to welcome them to Decatur.”

The city commission approved an alcoholic beverage license for beer, wine and spirituous liquor beverages for consumption on premises.

“La Chiquiada is bringing Mexican heat, California ease, and Southern hospitality (with a side dish of soul) to Downtown Decatur,” a previous press release said. “We will be open breakfast-lunch through the week and brunch-dinner on weekends! You can expect amazing coffee (Montgomery-based Prevail Coffee), homemade pastries, and breakfast tacos to start your day, an awesome happy hour with delicious bites and killer cocktails to start your evening, and a super delicious Mexican-inspired brunch and dinner menu through the weekend. We will have California wines, local draft and bottle beer, and awesome craft cocktails.”

La Chiquiada is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4-10 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4-11 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.

The city commission also approved temporary alcohol beverage licenses for the Pan African Festival and Placita Latina. Both festivals plan to serve beer and wine.

The Pan African Festival hosted by the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights will be held from 4-10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, on the Decatur Square.

Placita Latina events will be held throughout September and October. There will be a salsa dancing event from 4-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, on the Square.

In other business, the board approved a vacation leave buy-back program to help city departments and divisions address challenges with retaining full-time employees with one or more years of service. The city commission approved the concept of the program and will consider the funding and final logistics of the program in the fall.

“We have experienced a shortage in staffing due to the increasingly competitive job market,” City Clerk Meredith Roark said. “The creation of a program such as this is a cost-effective way to incentivize staff to remain employed by the city of Decatur.”

The city’s personnel policies state that “vacation leave may accumulate to a maximum of the leave earned in three years. When the maximum has been accumulated, no additional vacation leave will be earned until some of the accrued leave has been taken. As of Dec. 31 of each year, accumulated vacation leave shall be reduced to the amount equal to the leave earned in two calendar years,” Roark said.

It has been challenging for city employees to use their earned vacation time as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and due to staffing shortages.

The city commission approved a one-time payout of unused vacation leave over the annual allowed accrual up to 80 hours in December 2021. The proposal of the buy-back program aims to make the payout process permanent.

Full-time employees with one or more years of service would be able to exchange vacation leave hours up to 40 hours of accrued and unused vacation leave per year for extra pay based on how long they have worked for the city.

An employee with one to five years of service could exchange up to 20 hours of accrued unused vacation time. Employees who have six to 15 years of service can exchange up to 30 hours, and employees with more than 16 years of service would be able to exchange up to 40 hours on Dec. 1 in the year of the request.

Once a payment is made, exchanged leave would not be able to be repurchased or restored.

“Payment for buy-back vacation leave shall be made at the employee’s rate of pay in December [for hourly employees] and salaried employees receive payment equivalent to their hourly rate on Dec. 1,” Roark said.

City staff estimate the program to cost about $170,000 in the fiscal year 2022-2023 budget. The budget allocation for the program would be reflected in the FY 22-23 revised budget upon city commission approval.

“This is a way to try to find a way to balance our desire for staff to take their vacation leave,” Roark said. “We want them to go and reset themselves, but if they can’t do that, giving them a way to also get a benefit when the staffing shortages don’t go away, or when they do, giving them an option of how to use their time and their resources that fits their needs.”

Roark added that while the program is being developed, the details may change, so the final program could look different from this initial concept.

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