10/11/09 — Pikeville residents to hold alcohol sales forum

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Pikeville residents to hold alcohol sales forum

By Laura Collins
Published in News on October 11, 2009 2:00 AM

Pikeville residents will have the chance Tuesday night to weigh in on the upcoming alcohol sales resolution on November's ballot.

Voters will have three options on the ballot: to vote for or against permitting off-premises sales only of malt beverages; to vote for or against permitting on-premises sales of malt beverages by Class A hotels, motels and restaurants only and to permit off-premises sales; and to vote for or against permitting on-premises and off-premises sales of unfortified wine.

Off-premises sales refers to buying alcohol at a convenience store or grocery store. Malt beverages refers to beer and unfortified wine refers to wines with a lower alcohol content.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Community Building, the Town of Pikeville is holding a open house forum on beer and wine to discuss the resolutions. Mayor Herb Seiger said he was behind having a forum.

"It's to hear both sides of it and to hear reasons behind it so people can vote intelligently," he said. "My thinking is that it is good for the town. I have several reasons why."

Seiger said he will go into his reasons more in-depth at the forum, but said one of the main reasons is taxes.

"I think it will help reduce taxes or help taxes from going up," he said.

Seiger added that if other restaurants or stores are considering opening a location in Pikeville, it's likely they're going to want the option to sell alcohol.

"In the past people have voted against it because they think it's a moral issue," he said. "I don't think it's a moral issue, I think it's a matter of survival. We've got to get additional revenue in."

The resolution marks the fourth time in recent years the topic has come before Pikeville voters. It was voted down the past three times. If voted down again, the town will have to wait another three years before another alcohol sales resolution can be put on the ballot.

Town commissioner Dennis Lewis isn't confident the forum will be beneficial.

"It's supposed to be about the vote," he said. "But it's probably one of those things that everyone already knows how they're going to vote on it. I'm willing to show up and listen and I don't think anything I say is going to change anyone else's mind and I don't think anyone is going to change my mind."

Lewis then added that he doesn't have an opinion on the sale of alcohol in the town either way. He said he thinks it's a misconception that approving the sell of alcohol will make taxes go down.

"Some people think not selling it in town is holding back the town because we don't have it," Lewis said. "But what's holding back the town is high utilities and taxes."

Town Administrator Kathie Fields said it's important for citizens to learn more about the resolution before voting.

"In my opinion, it's valuable to know all the details before a decision is made," she said.