04/10/17 — County ABC sales are up

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County ABC sales are up

By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 10, 2017 9:57 AM

Sales at the Walnut Creek ABC store have taken a hit since the new U.S. 70 Bypass opened, especially on Friday afternoons.

But even with that drop, ABC sales in the county are up by 4 percent during the first six months of the 2016-17 budget year, said Mike Myrick, Wayne County ABC Board business manager.

"For us, we had a good year last year, about $8.5 million in sales," he said. "Of our $8.5 million, $1.87 million goes to the state in the form of the excise tax and other taxes."

Myrick Tuesday morning updated Wayne County commissioners on sales and board Chairman Milas Kelly presented a distribution check in the amount of $150,000 for the six months to the county.

In response to questions from Commissioner Joe Daughtery, Myrick said a new ABC store is being constructed near Wal-Mart on Wayne Memorial Drive.

"Hopefully that will help balance out for lost revenues at Walnut Creek," Daughtery said.

"Yes sir, and also take some of the strain off of our main store," Myrick said. "We get pretty busy there on holidays. The main reason we looked at that (Wayne Memorial Drive) area, it is a good spot, but it is also going to help when we close the store up in Fremont.

"It will help our customers in the northern part of the county. Pikeville, Fremont, they won't have to go as far as coming down to the Rosewood store or Landmark (Drive) store."

The store should open by mid-fall, Myrick said.

There are 167 ABC boards statewide of which 50 are county boards and 117 are municipal boards.

North Carolina is one of 17 control states in the U.S., but it is the only one in which operates through local government entities designed to give back money to county and municipal governments. The rest are under state control, he said.

ABC sales totaled $1 billion in sales statewide this past fiscal year that ended June 30, 2016, of which nearly $381 million went back to the state or local governments in the form of tax or distributions, Myrick said.

Of the almost $381 million, the state got more than $287 million, he said.

"That is almost 30 percent," Myrick said. "The excise tax on us is almost 30 percent right off the top. So before we pay a salary, pay for one case of liquor, the state gets its cut."

Local distributions for the previous year were $69 million statewide, he said.

"We pay for the ABC Commission," he said. "A lot of people don't understand this. We don't either. It's a state agency that we pay their salaries and pay for their programs. When they get a raise, we have to give them more money. That is just the way it is set up, but again that is our revenue going back to pay for a state agency.

"We also spend about $11 million in the sate for local alcohol education and about $7.8 million in law enforcement."

When the Wayne County ABC Board formed in 1961 the excise tax was 16 percent with 8 percent going to the state and 8 percent staying local.

The tax is now 33 percent and it all goes to the state, Myrick said.

But even with that, the local ABC Board gave $657,086 back last year to the county and municipalities with ABC stores, he said.