County moves forward after voting ‘yes’ to alcohol sales

Marshall County voters voted "yes" to selling alcohol county-wide, and business owners are already planning after the landmark election Tuesday night.

Of the 25 precincts, 12 voted "yes",and 13 voted "no," plus the absentee votes.

The majority of precincts vote no, but the vote still passed because the yes precincts had higher voter turnout. The South and West Marshall precincts were the big no precincts, only winning the no vote in South Marshall by 112, and winning West Marshall by 137.

East Marshall and Ross precincts were the big yes precincts. "Yes" won in East Marshall by 285 votes and Ross by 273. Both precincts are by the lake. While some people were surprised at the turnout, business owners say they are glad they can finally carry out plans they've had for so long.

Big Bear Marina owner Janet Caldemeyer says she was ecstatic when she found out the vote passed, saying they waited a long time. Caldemeyer says they'll start with selling only beer on the lake, but it will be the boost they and the area need.

"That's a lot of goods and services, that's a lot of new business ventures, that's a lot of tax revenue," says Caldemeyer.

Caldemeyer says most tourists visiting the marina didn't understand the concept of a dry county. There are condos, cottages and a marina by the lake, but not a restaurant. Caldemeyer says she's not opposed to someone else helping to start a restaurant in the future.

Marshall County Judge Executive Chyrill Miller says the vote was up in the air until the final numbers were announced. She says they're in the beginning stages now, but will be glad for the extra revenue in the county. However, she wants to make sure everything is done right the first time.

"That's what I hope to be able to accomplish is to keep this smooth and going easily into the next process," says Miller.

So Marshall County can move forward after making a big splash.

"If we can do that, we can blow most of western Kentucky out of the water." says Caldemeyer

Miller said people were already asking for licenses Wednesday morning. It will be an estimated 60 to 90 days before the county can issue any licenses.  Miller said the county will appoint a board and a commissioner over alcohol sales in the county.

They have yet to appoint a board,  but right now Miller is the acting commissioner for alcohol sales in the county.

Miller says there are still many details the county needs to work through when it comes to alcohol sales, but there are some details county leaders do know:

  • No one will be able to apply for any license for at least 60 days.
  • The county can award 13 licenses for stores selling packaged alcohol
  • But an unlimited number of malt beverage licenses can be awarded to grocery stores and minute marts for beer sale
  • Special events coordinators can also apply for licenses with the county
  • There will be no licenses for bars

To apply for a license:

  • A business needs to background and security checks
  • It must be a certain distance away from a church or school
  • Restaurants also have to meet the requirement of selling at least a 50/50 ration of food to beverages
  • It must meet a seating requirement
  • There will also be a fee for the licenses.

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