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Fiscal Court OKs alcohol ordinance

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

The McCracken County Fiscal Court passed an updated alcohol ordinance that abolishes a 60-plus year old law Monday night, but members indicated that they will reinstitute a ban on election day sales.

The measure approved Monday ensures that the county will continue to receive liquor license fees, which are set to increase statewide. The Kentucky legislature passed new beverage control licensing requirements last year, which allows election day sales. If the entire measure had been rejected, the new state laws would go into effect countywide and McCracken would lose out on the increase in ABC fees and election day sales would be legal, according to deputy county clerk Lyne Dickey.

She said if the court passed the full ordinance, the county wouldn't lose out on revenue when license renewals begin March 1. Then the law can be further tweaked by each county. In McCracken, the court could add the stipulation that the sale of alcoholic beverages from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on election days is prohibited, mirroring the previous legal text. Commissioners passed the motion unanimously, with Jerry Beyer serving as judge pro-tem due to Judge-Executive Van Newberry's absence due to sickness.

Three county residents spoke during a public forum against election day sales, citing the impact on decision-making skills and the increased chance for wrecks caused by consumption. Jim Lewis Sr. spoke for the second consecutive meeting.

"Do the right thing because you know it's the right thing to do," he told the court.

Susan Hobbs agreed, asking, "They are going to buy it anyway, but why do they have to buy it during those hours?"

Following the vote, Commissioner Zana Renfro asked to add the first reading of an amendment to restrict sales during election days to the next Fiscal Court agenda. Beyer also voiced support for continuing the ban on sales for those specific days. Commissioners couldn't add the amendment during Monday's meeting because the component hadn't been advertised, according to County Attorney Mike Murphy.

He said the court would have to hear a first and second reading of the motion to re-ban election day sales during subsequent advertised meetings, hold a public forum and then vote on the change. The court has until early May to complete the process, with the first primary set for May 20. The clerk's office would need about two weeks to notify the 18 affected businesses if the amendment passed.

In other meeting business, the court approved the addition of a public forum for the name change of Parker Avenue to Crider Avenue in McCracken County to the next meeting agenda. The alteration was requested by the street's lone resident who cited confusion with two other Parker Roads in the area, according to road supervisor Perry Mason.

Mason also reported that the county streets are 99 percent clear of snow and ice and the department has 70 ons of salt and 250 tons of sand in reserve. He said that amount should sustain the county through several additional minor weather events.

Renfro made a motion that was passed unanimously to inform county directors and department leaders to monitor compensatory time weekly and have employees use that time during the same pay period.

Another motion was added to use radios currently in inventory for new coroner and sheriff's department vehicles.

The court also approved Joe Parmley as the interim director of the animal shelter effective Feb. 1, added three temporary part-time employees and changed the status of a temporary part-time employee to temporary full-time. The appointments could end or be changed following the court's planned reorganization of the shelter. The previous full-time employees - director Leslie Hannan and employee Becky Powell - retired at the end of January.

An animal shelter workshop is set from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the courthouse.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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