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Council holds off on approving package store applications

By Bethany Anderson
Freelance Writer

The Town of Mountain City’s Board of Aldermen met on Tuesday, August 6, for their monthly meeting, which drew quite a crowd with the hopes of hearing the status of the submitted applications for possible future package stores in town. Unfortunately, the wait is not over.
Vice Mayor Bud Crosswhite was notably absent, but nothing was mentioned as to his whereabouts. After the customary prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, the meeting started with Mayor Kevin Parsons commenting on the “full house” present that evening.
After many more routine topics were discussed at length, the council’s discussion finally shifted to the topic that most in attendance had come to hear about: the fate of those package store applications.
City Recorder Sheila Shaw stated that the “Beer Board” that was previously decided on would need to have an organizational meeting to prepare. Shaw also mentioned that they still needed to establish term limits for board members. After some discussion, the council decided to establish a 4-year term for Beer Board members.
Wright stated that the city had thus far received 2 “suitable” applications for package stores. He added that he and Mountain City Police Chief Denver Church had met and discussed their recommendations and were prepared to make a decision.
Although it has been repeatedly mentioned by various council members as well as by the City Attorney that they can issue two permits, but that they did not necessarily have to issue both. The decision could be made to issue only one.
Alderman Keeble, who has previously stated that although the allowance for alcohol sales in town was against his own personal beliefs, he would agree to “Give the people what they voted for.”
In a seeming change of attitude, Keeble said, “I’m all in favor of issuing two
permits.” adding, “That’s going to be my stance. We have two permits to offer so we should give out two permits.”
It was ultimately decided that the council would need more time to discuss the matter, so Alderman Bob Morrison requested that they have a “work meeting” to do so. The meeting is set for Friday, August 23 at 3 p.m. at City Hall and is open to the public.
The council’s package store discussion came on the heels of the night’s additional topics such as the retirement of city employee Jerry Lipford after 33 years. Lipford was given a plaque to commemorate the event along with a letter thanking him for his many years of hard work.
The council then went on to discuss a request submitted from another resident to make the driveway behind the Senior Center a one-way drive. After some input from Church and City Attorney George Wright, it was decided that while this would be possible, it would require approval from the various property owners that it would effect including Heritage Hall, the Johnson County School Board, and the Johnson County Library among others.
It was also pointed out by Church that because this is a driveway and parking lot, not a public street, it would be more challenging to enforce a one-way direction on
Also mentioned was that the prison van used to transport inmates who are on the community service program is now out of service.
The vehicle has been reportedly tampered with and the gas tank “sugared” rendering the engine and fuel line ruined. It was quickly decided that it would cost more to repair than to replace, so instructions were given to start the search for a suitable replacement vehicle.
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