01/06/11 — County supports current ABC system

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County supports current ABC system

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 6, 2011 1:46 PM

Proponents of a possible state takeover or privatization of the Alcohol Beverage Control system aren't telling the entire story, Wayne County ABC Board business manager Mike Myrick told county commissioners Tuesday.

Commissioners were asked to sign a resolution opposing privatization, and they did so during their meeting Tuesday.

State officials are looking at privatization to see if it would be more efficient and save the state money. A legislative study committee has recommended that local ABC boards be required to contract with a private seller if a store's sales are not efficient.

Supporters of the changes point out that 24 ABC boards in the state are not making enough money to give any back to the community. However, Myrick told the commissioners what they fail to say is that those same 24 boards generated $6.5 million in revenue for the state.

Nor will privatization lead to smaller state government, Myrick said, noting that the current system operates on revenues generated by sales and uses no tax dollars.

Wayne's ABC stores generated $1.9 million in revenues last year with $1.5 million or 81 percent "right off the top" going to the state, Myrick said.

"(The state does) not do the work," he said. "All of the work is done by the people here in Wayne County. We have a (state) system that is third in the nation in generating revenues from liquor sales, but only 48th in consumption compared to other states."

That means not as many people are drinking and that the state is "taxing the heck" out of it, he said.

During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, the local ABC Board gave $123,352 to the city of Goldsboro, $145,000 to the county and $18,981 to Mount Olive. Fremont received $2,667.

Another $25,225 went to Wayne County Alcohol Rehabilitation and $21,171 to county law enforcement.

The main reason not to privatize alcohol sales is control, Myrick said.

The number of outlets selling alcohol in the last four states to go private increased anywhere from four to 10 fold, he said.

Also, county residents voted for alcohol sales through ABC stores and not by private retail outlets, he said.

Commissioner Jack Best said he had read newspaper accounts about the problems of ABC boards in other counties, but had not seen any such problems in Wayne County.

"I congratulate you on the integrity of your board," he told Myrick.

Commissioner Steve Keen said that while he is "huge proponent" of small businesses and "less government" that he opposes privatization.

Keen said he has concerns that health problems increase as the availability of alcohol increases. He said he is particularly concerned about underage drinking.

Keen's motion to adopt the resolution passed unanimously.

In others business, Best recused himself and left the room when the board took up a petition to add Brighton Drive and Pickens Drive in the Meares Bluff Subdivision to the state highway maintenance system.

Best, one of the project's developers, returned to the room after the board had approved the petition.

Commissioners also approved four subdivision plats all of which had been recommended by the county Planning Board.

The plats were:

* Rodney Dean Barnes, Et Al. final, owner/developer Rodney, Roxanne and Bryan Barnes, two lots on Old Smithfield Road in Fork Township.

* Carol Annette Finch final, owner/developer Carol Finch, two lots on Bogue Road in Nahunta Township.

* Carl Franklin Corbett Jr. and wife, Charlette C. Corbett, and Blake Anthony Howell final, owner/developer Ray and Rose Hicks, two lots on Airport Road in Stoney Creek Township.

* Charles R. Hare and wife, Diane E. Hare, final, owner/developer Charles and Diane hare, one lot on Princeton Road in Fork Township.

The board approved a plat for one lot on Southern Drive at Southern Mobile Village section three at Dudley in the Brogden Township. The owner developer is Gerald Bell doing business as B&D Management.

Approval had been recommended by the Planning Board.

The consent agenda included rental of farmland owned jointly by the county and city of Goldsboro. In approving the consent agenda, commissioners agreed to three-year leases of seven parcels of farmland that the city council voted for on Dec. 6.

The parcels and high bidders were:

* 24.2 acres west of N.C. 111 South, Alfred Park, $101 per acre, $2,444.20 yearly total

* 56.3 acres west of N.C. 111 South, Alfred Park, $101 per acre, $5,683.30 yearly total

* 5.1 acres on Miller's Chapel Road, Wiggins Farms, $82.50 per acre, $420.75 yearly total

* 16.6 acres Wayne Memorial Drive and New Hope Road, Wiggins Farms, $82.50 per acre, $1,369.5 yearly total

* 43.4 acres Arrington Bridge Road, Odom Farming Co., $95 per acre, $4,123 yearly total

* 67.8 acres John Street and Arrington Bridge Road, Odom Farming Co., $95 per acre, $6,441 yearly total

* 25.1 acres corner of Genoa and Pecan roads, Wiggins Farms, $82.50 per acre, $2,070.75 yearly total.

During a brief work session following the meeting, Smith told the board that the county rents several parcels of farmland that it owns. The parcels approved in the consent agenda are jointly owned by the city and county and managed by the city, he said.

Best suggested that Smith prepare a listing of the property that is owned solely by the county and to make a presentation at the board's next meeting.

Keen asked that the list include any county-owned timberland. The listing will not include property inside the flood plain, Smith said.

Gray said it was his understanding that any changes to the agreements with people renting the land had to be announced in November.

There are no automatic renewals, Smith said. However, if the November notification is a requirement then any changes would have to wait until next year, he said.

Also by approving the consent agenda, the board agreed to sell property at 300 E. Pollock St. in Mount Olive that is jointly owned by the town and county. Hugh Oates Sr. of Mount Olive submitted the high bid at $20,106.51.