Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 5, 2013

Fiscal court to vote on Sunday sales

3.5 percent license fee proposed for gross alcohol sales

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

CATLETTSBURG — Boyd County officials are meeting Monday to vote on allowing Sunday alcohol sales at restaurants and a new a 3.5 percent tax on alcohol sales.

The Boyd County Fiscal Court gave initial approval last month to amending the existing alcoholic beverage control ordinance to allow alcohol to be served by the drink from 1 p.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. on Monday. The ordinance currently allows alcohol sales from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday’s for  establishments licensed under the “moist law,” which voters approved in 2007.

Boyd Commissioners voted 3 to 1 in favor of allowing Sunday sales, with Commissioner Tom Jackson casting the dissenting vote. Boyd County Judge Executive William “Bud” Stevens said he expects both measures to pass on Monday.

 The proposed 3.5 percent regulatory license fee on gross alcohol sales is expected to bring in approximately $18,000 to $20,000 in additional revenue to the county. Boyd County, outside of Ashland, had slightly more than $600,000 in alcohol sales last year, said Stevens.

Boyd County initially charged an 8 percent fee, but it was repealed. The only revenue Boyd County currently receives from alcohol sales is from the fees from the license sales, renewals and net profits taxes.

The fiscal court is meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday instead of its regular monthly meeting time on Tuesday due to the time restriction for voting on the advertised ordinances.

Stevens proposed both amendments to the alcohol ordinance in response to plans by a local restauranteur to petition for an election to approve Sunday alcohol sales following Ashland’s successful petition drive and election in February.  However, state law allows the governing bodies of cities and counties that have already voted to allow alcohol sales to approve Sunday sales without an election.

“This is something I knew was coming. When Ashland passed it overwhelmingly, I knew it was coming,” said Stevens, noting he does not expect Sunday sales to have “that large an impact on the county.” There are only four restaurants with alcohol licences in Boyd County.

 The Ashland election, which took place in two precincts, cost Boyd County tax payers $7,673.65, according to the Boyd County Clerks’ office. A county-wide Sunday sales vote would cost approximately $88,000, according to county officials. There is a minimal cost to amending the ordinance.

Tal Callihan, the owner of two Boyd County establishments, Callihan’s American Pub and Grill and R.J. Kahuna’s, has said he expects Sunday sales alone could increase annual sales at his two mall establishments by $500,000. In addition, Callihan said Sunday sales could allow him to hire additional employees.  

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com.