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Package Stores and Beer Board discussed at City Council

By Bethany Anderson

The Mountain City Board of Alderman met last week to discuss the business of the month. There were quite a few more than usual in attendance as one of the topics of discussion was the new liquor and beer ordinances.
Once the floor was opened up to public comments, a woman (who wishes to remain anonymous) questioned the council on their plans for the approval process for those who apply to open package stores in town.
Her question was, “If you have 10 applicants and all 10 meet the requirements, how will you pick which 2 gets a permit? What’s the criteria?”
City Attorney George Wright answered, “First of all, we don’t have to approve 2. We’ll give 1, but that may be all.”
The woman again asked, “But how will you pick? What’s the process going to be like for that?”
Alderman Bud Crosswhite answered, “We’re going to step-by-step. This is new to us so we just don’t know yet.”
Mayor Kevin Parsons added, “We just don’t have an answer yet. This is all new to us. We’ll just have to figure it out. Sorry we can’t be more clear than that, but we will try to be fair.”
The woman was visibly frustrated with the lack of a helpful response to her questions, but was then asked to “take a seat” thus ending the line of questioning on the subject.
Later in the meeting, it was mentioned that in a previous work study meeting a “Beer Board” was discussed. The Beer Board would be put in place to take on any issues with on-premise consumption of beer only. In the work study meeting it was decided that the Board of Alderman themselves would serve as the Beer Board. However, that was amended during the reading of this at the City Council meeting.
The amendment made states that the Beer Board shall be appointed by the Board of Alderman. It shall have a total of 5 members with at least 2 of those members required to be from the Board of Alderman (aka: City Council). The Beer Board would also require 3 members present for any votes.
Those who were present to ask questions about the Board of Alderman’s plans for the approval process made a final attempt to ask about that before the meeting was concluded, but were quickly shut down. No clear answer was given regarding the approval process for package stores, so that remains to be seen.