MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - A Macon City Council committee has tabled a decision that would allow tailgaters to drink in the streets during home Mercer University football games.
In a 4-1 vote, the Public Safety Committee decided to table the ordinance. Council members brought up concerns regarding who would be responsible to clean up the area as well increasing law enforcement in the open container district.
Committee Vice Chairman Henry Gibson believes Mercer University should compromise and pay for part of the expenses involved, similar to other downtown events, like the Cherry Blossom Festival or Bragg Jam.
"We can't just give Mercer a free ride when we charge everyone else," Gibson said.
But Macon Mayor Robert Reichert says you can't compare tailgating to those events, because the idea is to promote downtown as a place to enjoy before or after the game.
"We're trying to attract and invite people to come in," Reichert said. "This [downtown] is not the venue of the football game, this is ancillary to it, so this responsibility for cleaning it up is the city's."
The ordinance would allow tailgaters to drink alcoholic beverages in paper or plastic cups, plastic bottles, or aluminum cans—no glass containers—from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the eight Saturday home football games in designated downtown areas and Tatnall Square Park.
To be clear, Gibson says city council is not opposed to the ordinance. Members want more information before making any decisions.
Reichert says there is enough money in the budget to pay for any overtime accumulated from the public works department, the fire department, and the police department. He hopes city council will see the economic benefits of passing this ordinance.