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Restaurants that plan to serve alcohol in Campbellsville will be charged an 8 percent regulatory fee and will not be permitted to sell alcohol on Sundays.
During its regular meeting Monday evening, Campbellsville City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance defining alcohol fees, establishing a local Alcoholic Beverage Control board and setting hours during which alcoholic beverages can be sold.
A second reading and publication in the Central Kentucky News-Journal are required before the ordinance becomes law. After that, several months will pass before alcohol can be served, according to Ed Miladin, who will serve as the City's ABC officer.
Once the ordinance is approved, Miladin said, it would be late November at the earliest before alcohol is served in Campbellsville restaurants. Applications for an alcohol license would first be approved locally before going to the state ABC. Applicants are subject to background and credit checks.
In May, voters living within the City approved the sale of alcohol in restaurants seating at least 50 people as long as the drinks are served in conjunction with a meal. Restaurants must derive at least 70 percent of their income from the sale of food.
The measure passed by 74 votes.
According to state law, once the measure passes, the governing body must define the parameters by which licenses can be obtained locally. Because the alcohol question applied only to the City of Campbellsville, the "governing body" is the City Council, Bertram said. If the City doesn't take steps toward approving an ordinance by July 27, someone else will and the City will lose control of the issue.
"If we don't do it, the county or the state will," Bertram told the Council. "If you don't like [what they do], that's just too bad."
However, the process could be prolonged. Four Campbellsville residents have filed a suit seeking to reverse May's local option alcohol vote. Don and June Bishop, Russell Burris and Murey G. Finn contend that the election was not valid because the petition and initial ballots did not include a phrase mandating that alcohol be served only in conjunction with a meal.
Taylor County Sheriff John Shipp, Taylor County Clerk Mark Carney, Allen Dudgeon and Phil Allan Bertram, all members of the Taylor County Board of Elections, and Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers are named as defendants in the suit. They have not yet filed a response.
Though a vote isn't required for a first reading, Mayor Brenda Allen asked for a vote due to the number of motions on the table. Councilmen Paul Harmon, Stan McKinney and Doug Mullins voted no. The remaining nine Council members voted yes.
"I cannot vote for any ordinance that approves the sale of alcohol," McKinney said.
Though he didn't say why he voted no, Mullins said the motion on the table to approve the ordinance was confusing. He asked that the Council vote on the motion item-by-item.
"The motion we are entertaining is so complicated."
Before a motion was made, City Attorney John Bertram went through the ordinance, pointing out several things that needed to be changed.
Councilman Dave Nunery made a motion to include Bertram's changes, but also added a few of his own.
Nunery included in his motion a clause prohibiting Sunday sales and added language creating a local ABC Board and barring serving minors.
According to the ordinance, businesses will pay a $1,000 annual license fee and an 8 percent annual regulatory fee based on alcohol receipts. Once the business pays the license fee, it will receive a $1,000 credit on the regulatory fee. For example, if the regulatory fee is $4,000, the business will pay only pay $3,000.
A license is granted to a location, Bertram said, not a person's or business' name. That means a licensed restaurant can only sell and serve alcohol within its own walls and no alcohol may leave the premises.
The ordinance also mandates that restaurant employees participate in a City-approved training program, such as one offered by the ABC, and allows ABC officials and local police officers to inspect restaurants for alcohol ordinance violations without a warrant.
A lot of the burden will be placed on the restaurants, Miladin said.
"They are in the business to sell food. We have an ordinance and a KRS that says you can't just order a drink."
If a restaurant turns in receipts showing that 25 percent to 30 percent of their revenue is from alcohol, something may be wrong, Miladin said.
"If they are doing too much alcohol, they are not doing something right."
Local entrepreneur Will Patton also asked Council members to reconsider barring Sunday sales.
According to the ordinance, restaurants will only be permitted to serve alcohol from 6 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday.
Allen said that if there were to be community support for Sunday sales, the Council would revisit it.
Bertram said there are two state laws dealing with Sunday sales - one for distilled spirits and wine and the other for beer. Sunday sales of distilled spirits and wine would require a separate $300 license.
One issue the ordinance didn't address was the definition of a meal.
Patton asked that the Council define a meal as one ounce of a non-liquid item eaten within four hours.
As for the definition of a meal, Miladin said, the City will seek ABC input.
"We don't want a meal to be a bowl of chips and a cup of salsa," he said. "We don't want a meal to be an egg roll or a plate of French fries."
In Miladin's opinion, an appetizer ordered from a menu could qualify as a meal.
Whatever the Council decides, Miladin said, others are watching. Campbellsville will be the first Kentucky city to enact the 50-seat law.
"We probably will be the test for other cities."