Harrodsburg takes first step in allowing liquor by the drink

November 14, 2003|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - This city may become moist around Jan 8, 2004, and city government has taken the first step towards allowing liquor by the drink in qualified restaurants.

The 12-page document that is the ordinance and sets the conditions for such restaurants was given first reading.

A restaurant allowed to sell liquor by the drink must seat at least 100 people and derive 70 percent of its income from the sale of food.

One of the first requirements was completed the day after the election when Interim County Clerk Bruce Harper certified the election results.

Meeting one of the other requirements, Mercer County Judge-Executive John Trisler signed an order Monday stating the outcome of the election, including the 17-vote margin, and sent it to Mercer County Clerk Ronnie Compton to be placed in Fiscal Court's order book in the clerk's office.


Restaurant owners may begin selling liquor by the drink 60 days after the judge's order is signed and entered. Compton said today that the order was entered in the order book the same day Trisler signed it.

Commisson handles major issues in the ordinance

The major issues in the ordinance were handled when the City Commission met Thursday evening.

* The base business license will be $600. That amount is set by state statute, but the funds go to the city.

* City Clerk Lorene Hembree was appointed to be the city's Alcohol Beverage Control administrator.

* The hours of 6 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday will be the hours of liquor sales. No liquor will be sold on Sundays.

* An 8 percent license fee to cover administration and policing expenses was established. The law allows for a fee between 2 percent and 8 percent.

Addressing the hours of operation, Commissioner Joe Hood said he questioned the reason for liquor to be sold as early as 6 a.m. "I understand now that some people like something in their coffee," he said.

City Administrative Officer Ed Music attached a memo to copies of the ordinance noting the city already has obtained all the necessary forms and will be ready to process applications before the effective date.

People serving alcohol must take training that includes the identification of false age documents and recognize "the characteristics of intoxication."

City Commissioner Eddie Long questioned one section of the ordinance involving intoxication and the city's liability for it. The text says the person serving alcohol shall not allow a person to become intoxicated, "nor shall any licensee permit any drunk or intoxicated person to remain on the ... premises."

Long wondered if someone made to leave a restaurant because of intoxication might go to his car and drive under the influence and the results of that driving would be the city's liability. The commission agreed to remove the quoted phrase, but the members were assured by City Attorney David Taylor and Music that the liability would fall to the manager and not city government.

A second reading of the ordinance is required and is expected to be up for a final vote at the next City Commission meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 25.

"They can't apply for a license until ordinance is approved," Music said today. In addition to passing a second reading, the ordinance has to be published according to state law. A restaurant owner must also publish an advertisement in the paper indicating the intent to sell liquor by the drink.

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