12/30/12 — County ABC Board distributes $175K in revenue

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County ABC Board distributes $175K in revenue

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 30, 2012 1:50 AM

Wayne County, Goldsboro and Mount Olive are sharing $175,000 in alcohol sales revenues distributed last week by the Wayne County ABC Board.

The county received $85,000 from the board's semi-annual distribution, while Goldsboro got $80,000 and Mount Olive, $10,000. The ABC Board hands out more than $300,000 annually, of which 50 percent goes to the county with the remainder divided between Goldsboro and Mount Olive, both of which have ABC stores.

There are no restrictions on how the funds may be used. Wayne County, Goldsboro and Mount Olive all put the money in their general funds.

The funds are distributed in December and June.

For the fiscal year that ended June 30, the local board distributed $26,389 for alcohol rehabilitation; $21,327 for law enforcement; $24,469 to Mount Olive; $150,317 to Goldsboro; $170,000 to the county; $1,100 to Alcoholics Anonymous; and $14,430 for educational programs.

"What we put a bunch of our money in was the North Carolina Children's Theater," said Wayne County ABC Board Business Manager Mike Myrick. "They put on a bunch of one-act plays on drunk driving. This year we hope to fund Roman Gabriel III.

"He has a lot of good programs called Sold Out. He is in about 10 counties in the western part of the state. This is just pledges that kids make they are not going to drink and drive. It is a good program. He is coming down here in the spring. We have touched base with him with the education people for the county. I think we are going to make that happen before the prom."

Gabriel, who lives in western North Carolina, is the founder of Sold Out Youth Ministries and Sold Out Sports Media, and Sold Out Drug and Alcohol Education Program. He is the son of former Los Angeles Rams NFL great Roman Gabriel, a native of Wilmington.

North Carolina's ABC system is unique.

"There are 32 private states and 18 control states," Myrick said. "Of the 18 control states, 17 are state run and everybody is a state employee. North Carolina is the only control state that is locally run. We have 167 boards. We have 50 county and 117 municipal boards. Wayne County is a county board.

"Again, a control system is here for two reasons. It is the controlled sale of spirits, and I think we do a good job of that as far as not selling to underage and caring for public funds in an efficient and effective manner, and then making revenue."

In 2012, the state was fifth in the nation in revenue, but 49th in consumption, Myrick said.

"What that means to me is that we have some high taxes on our spirits," he said. "But we are right in line where I think we need to be in prices."

Talk about privatization of the system has died down in both North Carolina and Virginia, Myrick said. One of the reasons, he said, is because of what happened in Washington state.

A large company pumped in $20 million in an attempt to have the state system privatized, he said. The first state vote failed, but a second one was successful, he said.

"Now all the devil has broke loose in that the prices of liquor have gone up 30 percent," he said.

The promised income has not materialized, and the state has placed higher taxes on the distributors, which in turn increase the cost of the alcohol.

"So nobody is happy in the state of Washington," he said. "Also, there is no law enforcement designated for alcohol control like we have here. In the state we have the North Carolina ALE. Most of the local boards either have a contract with their sheriff or local police department or they have their own. We have our own part-time retired deputy sheriff."

Myrick noted that Gov. Beverly Perdue had commissioned a study, paid for by ABC funds, that found privatization would not be feasible.

Also, unlike a private system that is profit driven, North Carolina's system is geared to control, while generating revenues.

The county system has 29 employees, 18 to 19 which are full-time.

There is one store in Mount Olive and four in Goldsboro, U.S. 70 East near Walnut Creek, one on U.S. 70 West near Rosewood. The Goldsboro stores are located in the Little River Shopping Center and on Landmark Drive that also serves as the local board office.

The Landmark location is also where bars and restaurants have to purchase their alcohol.