For roughly 45 minutes, Trigg County Attorney H.B. Quinn read the 24-page ordinance in between sips of water to a solid crowd. And after comments and questions from the audience, Trigg County Magistrate made the motion, which Magistrate Larry Lawrence seconded, to approve the ordinance.
Trigg County Judge Executive Stan Humphries said aside from some minor grammatical changes, the ordinance itself remains virtually unchanged, save for the removal of the ban on smoking in any establishment that serves alcohol.
“We really can’t go much further in the debate,” Humphries said, noting that the 60 day time limit from the Sept. 29 election had already come and gone. “I don’t think we as Trigg Countians would like” what the ordinance would look like if the state stepped in.
The ordinance still allows alcohol sales between the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight and bans alcohol sales on Sunday, Christmas and on days when election polls are open. Signage options are still limited for those businesses selling alcohol, and flashing signs are banned.
Additionally, discount sales, such as two-for-one sales and happy hour, are still banned from 6 p.m. to closing. The ordinance also calls for a 6 percent local tax on alcoholic beverages and requires beverage service training, which Humphries said the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) is willing to do.
Humphries said those who wanted to apply for alcohol licenses can find and download the relevant applications for those licenses at the Kentucky ABC web site, at www.abc.ky.gov.
Irvin Darnall expressed concern about the part of the ordinance that states that any establishment that sells alcohol has to be 200 feet away from any church or school. He thought the buffer should be much larger.
“I am concerned about this ordinance,” Darnall said.
Humphries said the 200-foot buffer is essentially an old state law, and added that if it was larger, it would likely be taken to court and removed, as has been a recent trend in the courts.
Grow Trigg President Ken Culwell thanked the fiscal court for the work it has done on the ordinance since the election, noting that it was likely a tough job. He added that passing no ordinance would mean the county would lose out on the economic growth that would result from alcohol sales.
“You’ve done a great job, you’ve done a very thorough job,” Culwell said. “You could have debated this for … many years … and come up with no ordinance.”
Greg Brown, the owner of Timbers Steak and Grill, said he was in favor of the ordinance but asked if his steak giveaway would run afoul of the law. He was assured that since it was a food giveaway, it was still within the law.
Archie Brock, a member of Trigg Citizens Against Alcohol, said that while he still had reservations about the ordinance, the fiscal court should still pass it.
“I have mixed emotions, personally, about what this ordinance does, and I would like to see changes [to the ordinance],” Brock said. “But I think you have done a good job, under a difficult situation … I speak personally when I urge you to approve this ordinance.”
The ordinance is still available at the county’s web site at triggcounty.ky.gov.
The fiscal court also unanimously agreed to appoint Jay Geiger, a retired state trooper who works with the Trigg County Sheriff’s Department, as the local ABC administrator. Humphries said he officially started when the court approved him.
After the portion of the meeting dedicated to the alcohol ordinance most of the audience left. Shortly before that, Humphries gave them the number for Geiger, and advised them to give him time to recuperate after his surgery.
The court also unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the county and the Pennyrile District Health Department. The MOU states that although the county can’t guarantee that the PDHD’s expenses during the ice storm will be reimbursed, the county will try to help it in obtaining reimbursement.
Also approved was a resolution for an Energy Efficiency Block Grant for up to $125,000. Humphries said the county wants to use that to replace Trigg County Hospital’s roof.
In other business, the court approved the paying of monthly bills, as well as a transfer of $50,000 from the county’s general fund to the sheriff’s department. Notable bills include $348,000 for Rogers Group for road paving.