Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

June 19, 2013

Legal sales to bring new revenues, challenges

By Keith Kappes - Publisher
Journal-Times

June 19, 2013 — If the City of Grayson follows the lead of Morehead and other fourth class cities, the legal sale of alcohol will bring substantial, new revenue into the city’s coffers.

For example, Morehead collects a four percent tax on the gross receipts of all alcoholic beverages sold within the city limits.

For the upcoming 2013-14 fiscal year, that tax alone is expected to produce at least $320,000.

State law allows cities and counties to tax the sale of booze in order to cover the cost of regulating legal sales, including hiring and equipping those who administer and enforce city and state laws related to alcoholic beverages.

Grayson also will be permitted to add its own license fees to those collected by the state for various types of licenses required for legal sales.

Morehead uses a comprehensive, 23-page city ordinance to spell out all of its rules for selling legal alcohol, known as alcoholic beverage control (ABC).

Grayson Mayor George Steele said Tuesday that he has a copy of Morehead’s ABC ordinance and is impressed by its thoroughness.

“We have heard from various sources that it is very important to have a solid but reasonable ordinance that addresses local preferences while conforming to state law,” Steele said.

The mayor said he anticipates that Grayson’s enabling ordinance will evolve over the next few years as the city gains experience in such matters.

“I’m optimistic that moving from our history of illegal, unregulated sales of alcohol to a carefully controlled system eventually will be seen by most of our citizens as a positive change,” Steele added.

According to Morehead ABC Administrator Joe Parson, all city and county ABC ordinances will be changing this summer to incorporate changes in state laws made earlier this year when the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 13.

“Even with the changes, we don’t anticipate any problems in continuing to regulate alcoholic beverage sales in Morehead,” Parson said.

Among the decisions Grayson will have to make concerning alcoholic beverages will be the types of licenses to be available, requirements for the location and type of premises to be used, days and hours of operation, and a detailed procedure for suspending and/or revoking individual licenses and for punishing violators.

Agents of the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC also will have authority to enforce state and local alcoholic beverage laws in Grayson.

A private club in Greenup County was raided last month for illegal sale of alcoholic beverages and for gambling activities.

Kentucky’s liquor laws are contained in KRS chapters 241, 242, 243 and 244.

State ABC has the following mission statement on its website:

"‚ÄčOur mission is to protect the public welfare and interest by regulating the alcoholic beverage industry through licensing, education and the enforcement of alcohol laws and regulations, as well as combating youth access to alcoholic beverages…”

The City of Grayson soon will face the same challenge.

Keith Kappes can be reached at kkappes@journal-times.com or by telephone at 800-247-6142.