Marshall County passes alcohol ordinance

The Marshall County Fiscal Court passed an alcohol ordinance in a special-called meeting.

The Fiscal Court had 60 days after the election to pass the ordinance in order to collect on taxes. Commissioners Rick Cocke and Johnny Bolin, as well as Marshall County Judge Executive Chryill Miller, voted in favor. Commissioner Bob Gold voted against the ordinance because it allows for Sunday by-the-drink sales.

This doesn’t mean the county can start selling alcohol. The county will officially be wet on Oct. 4, but the county plans to push the website http://marshallabc.com live. They will continue to update it with relevant information and documents, but county leaders say there’s still more work to do before selling the first drink.

After two months of debate and rewrite, Miller took a quick vote, and the county approved the alcohol ordinance. Miller signed the ordinance Friday —a day she describes as historical.

"There were high emotional feelings brought out on this, and I appreciated both sides," says Miller.

The signature is not a signal to start pouring. Miller estimates it will be later this year before beer and wine sales start and 2016 before package liquor stores can open. She says they want to be cautious and not make mistakes.

Even when the county goes wet, it just means people can begin the application process.

Since the vote, Randy Newcomb with Marshall County Tourism has stepped down as spokesperson, but says passing the ordinance is progress.

"It just shows that our community is actually looking forward to growth," says Newcomb.

County leaders are eager to see what happens in the coming weeks.

The ordinance had two small changes today from its first reading. Servers who sell by the drink have to go through training, and building inspectors can use their discretion in approving a building before alcohol sales.

License applicants have to publish an ad in the paper as part of their license requirement, but they can’t do that until Oct. 5.

There will be a 6 percent county tax on all alcohol sales. The county will use that money to help regulate alcohol sales.

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