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McCracken takes step to ban election liquor sales

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

The McCracken Fiscal Court moved one step closer to rebanning the sale of alcoholic beverages on election days.

The court heard the first reading of ordinance 2014-1.1, under newly approved alcoholic beverage control licensing requirements, during a meeting Monday night. Members passed the updated alcohol ordinance that abolished the more than 60-year-old law during the Feb. 10 meeting.

The county's acceptance of new state legislation ensures the continued receipt of liquor license fees, but each county can add provisions to the law. In McCracken, the court can add a provision that had been on the books since 1952 to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on primary or general election days.

The court will hear the second reading of the amendment and hold a public forum during its next meeting. Judge-Executive Van Newberry said members then will vote on the measure. He said the court will likely continue the ban.

At Monday's meeting, the Fiscal Court also unanimously approved the recommended bids for demolition and site restoration of 10 properties damaged by flooding in spring 2011 under the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Property Acquisition Project. In 2011, the court agreed to contribute up to $100,000 to the program, which aims to buy property of that experienced significant flood damage, defined as more than 50 percent damage to homes, according to project administrator Joy Cook.

She told the court that the grant began with 15 properties but five property owners withdrew. Once clear title is obtained by the court, the properties' structures will be demolished and the areas restored to natural habitat.

David Flowers, county flood plain administrator, presented the bids that were opened on Feb 13 for each of the three groups of homes. Members approved his recommendations for demolition costs of $7,695 for group A, $7,174 for group B and $6,300 for group C, which were the lowest of the three submitted bids. The properties were segmented according to location and to stagger the county's outlay of funds.

The total county payment portion is 13 percent, about $87,000. The state will pay 12 percent and FEMA will cover 75 percent. The total purchase price of the four homes in group A is $208,579, with $231,653 for the three homes in group B and $162,600 for the three homes in group C, Cook said.

Residential structures cannot be built and the land cannot be sold again. The areas can be turned into parks, unpaved parkings, or camping or cultivation areas. According to FEMA guidelines, the county has 90 days to demolish the structures after closing.

Cook said the county should select the group that is most-ready for purchase, complete demolition and wait for reimbursement, then move to the next group. The court can also add three additional properties from the alternate list and remain under the $100,000 cap.

"This is helping us make the county better and safer with our past problems with flooding situations," Newberry said.

The court also held a public forum for the name change of Parker Avenue to Crider Avenue as requested by the street's lone resident. Phil Crider asked for the change, citing confusion with Parker Street and Parker Road in the county. No residents spoke against the change and commissioners passed the motion unanimously.

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

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