Public Hearing to be Held on Sunday Alcohol Sales
The public hearing will be held for residents to express their opinions on having the issue on a ballot, not the concept in general.
Taking the first baby step toward putting Sunday alcohol sales on a ballot this November, the county commissioners decided Tuesday to have a public hearing on the issue June 21.
The governor has signed legislation that allows counties and cities to vote on Sunday alcohol sales. The commissioners have been grappling with whether or not to put the issue on a ballot, with some expressing concerns and others indicating that residents should decide the issue.
The county's Board of Education has indicated there will be a special election in November, and the Sunday alcohol sales issue could be added to that ballot. The public hearing will be to hear residents' opinion on having the issue on a ballot, not the concept in general, said Commissioner Jim Hubbard. But several of the other commissioners said they are resigned to the fact that that will be a lot of what they hear.
Several cities in Cherokee County are already moving toward holding a referendum in November on Sunday alcohol sales. If approved by voters, the measure would allow alcohol sales in liquor stores, grocery stores and convenience stores. Restaurants are already able to sell alcohol by the drink on Sundays in many places.
In other business:
The commissioners approved changes to the county's precious metal dealer's ordinance. Similar to changes the board made recently to an ordinance that governs the way pawn shop dealers keep track of clients, the new gem dealer's ordinance will help law enforcement keep better records of merchandise and the people involved. This will include pictures of the item, fingerprints of the seller and a 30-day waiting period before an item can be sold.
The commissioners also heard April financial figures, which continue to point toward at least a $5 million deficit at the end of 2011.
The 2012 budget will be extremely difficult to balance because many one-time revenue sources and reserves used to balance this year's budget won't be available for 2012.
Commissioner Larry Johnston said that drastic cuts will have to be made in addition to raising taxes or both. Chairman Buzz Ahrens said he is sending out an e-mail to county employees that will ask for any cut suggestions that can be made.