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Marshall Co. Fiscal Court Sets Final Workshop for Alcohol Ordinance

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 After Marshall County voters approved countywide liquor sales last month, city and county governments are trying to finalize their alcohol ordinances so that sales can begin.

Assistant county attorney Jason Darnell says there have been three sticking points thus far in discussions regarding the county ordinance – the regulatory license fee which he says is basically a sales tax, the sale of alcohol on Sundays and the distance between liquor stores and schools and churches. Darnell says the fiscal court is currently discussing a distance between 500 and 1,000 feet.

"I want to emphasize that regardless of what the number is, it’s going to be a case-by-case determination,” Darnell said. “So in other words, if somebody applies for a package liquor store and it’s 900 feet from a school, that’s not going to automatically disqualify them from getting it.”

Darnell said the issue of Sunday sales is still being debated and will be a close vote for the fiscal court. He said the ordinance, which will cover unincorporated areas like Draffenville and Aurora, needs to be in place by October 4 because that’s the day the county officially goes wet and can begin capitalizing on licensing permit revenue.

“It’s a two-step process to be licensed," Darnell said. "Number one, you have to apply for the local permit first before you apply for the state and if we don’t have ours in place, then they’d just apply directly to the state and we’d risk losing out on that revenue.”

The fiscal court will hold a final workshop on the ordinance Thursday, September 10, before its second reading and a vote in late September. The cities of Benton and Calvert City are also in the process of creating their own ordinances.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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