By Leeann Akers - Editor
July 24, 2013 — Grayson City Council and the City Planning and Zoning Commission met last Tuesday night to discuss the upcoming alcohol sales ordinance.
Discussed were regulatory fees, times allowed for the sale of alcohol, administration, and areas allowed for the businesses.
City Attorney Reid Glass presented a rough draft of the proposed ordinance and Council decided which changes were needed. The first reading of the ordinance has been set for Thursday, July 25 at 6 p.m.
Council set the regulatory fee or “tax” on alcoholic beverage sales at four percent by the drink and six percent for packaged sales.
That revenue will be used for regulation of sales and the increased city services that will be needed.
“It is basically a shell game,” said Council member Duane Suttles. “The money will go into the general fund but you can't just spend it anywhere. We will have to disperse it to cover the costs of additional police and fire protection, the ABC administrator, and whatever else we need.”
Left in question was a section of the ordinance that has never been addressed by any city. New regulations went into effect on June 21 and their implication is still uncertain.
According to KRS 243.075, subsection 2, the Council could impose a regulatory fee on the gross sales of an establishment selling alcohol by the drink, in addition to the four percent fee discussed in the first subsection of the statute.
For rough draft purposes, Glass set the fee at two percent of the gross receipts.
“I just don't see how it's fair to a restaurant that may want to open here to take this fee,” Mignon Colley told the Council. “It seems like it would be a deterrent for new places to eat which is one of the main reasons this vote was taken.”
Glass said he would contact state ABC for clarification of the statute before compiling the ordinance for its first reading, which is scheduled June 25 at 6 p.m.
The group has until Aug. 12 to put the plan in place and will need two readings of the ordinance and have it published before the deadline.
Also discussed were the days and times when alcohol sales will be allowed.
Council decided that packaged liquor sales would be allowed Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to midnight.
Alcohol by the drink will be available from 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Council wanted to allow sales on Sunday until midnight. However, Glass was unsure of the state regulations and will clarify before the first reading of the ordinance.
Also discussed was the position of city alcoholic beverage control administrator that must be in place before sales may commence.
State law says that the ABC duties could be assigned to a current city employee by the Council or Council could allow Mayor George Steele to appoint someone to the position.
“You can't just tell someone they now have to do two jobs,” said Council member Jack Harper. “Then they aren't going to be able to do a good job at either.”
Council member Pearl Crum said Code Enforcement officer John Lands should be assigned the duties but Harper and Council member Terry Stamper argued that a new, full-time administrator should be appointed by the mayor.
It is unclear if Mayor George Steele will need to advertise for the position and accept applications before making the appointment. He said he would like to have Council’s input on the matter.
The planning and zoning commission also discussed some of their ideas on regulation, most of which are already included in state statute.
Main points of interest included the exclusion of any alcohol sales within a residential zone and in the Main Street Renaissance Designated Area.
The Renaissance area has not been officially designated by ordinance. Once that is done, no packaged sales would be allowed in that part of the city.
The group also plans to address the current sign ordinance in order to limit the advertisement of alcoholic beverages.
The Planning and Zoning Committee plans to hold a public forum on the issue Aug. 5 at 7 p.m.
The Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is responsible for regulating legal sales of alcoholic beverages. Its website is abc.ky.gov.
When the city’s ordinances are near completion, state ABC will place an advertisement in the Journal-Times to advise the public that applications can now be filed and of the available number of quota licenses for retail package liquor stores and liquor by-the-drink licenses.
Such licenses are based on the city’s population. Other licenses to sell beer and wine are not tied to population.
Locations of proposed licenses must be inspected and applicants are subject to background checks.