The Elkhorn City Council worked for hours this week deciding on a alcohol ordinance which was recently given its first and second reading during two separate special called meetings. At the end of the process, the city approved an ordinance which will allow two city businesses to sell alcohol, but not on Sundays
The 23-page alcohol beverage control ordinance outlines the rules and regulation regarding the sale of alcohol within city limits. A few highlights of the ordinance include:
• The ordinance will only allow for two licenses
• Police Chief Bobby Sexton has been named city ABC (alcohol beverage control) administrator
• No license to sell may be granted to any person who is delinquent in their taxes to the city
• Alcohol can be sold between the hours of 6 a.m until 12 a.m, Monday through Saturday
However, the main point of contention regarding the ordinance was the dismissal of alcohol sales on Sundays, which is something that divided a number of residents in the city.
“I think the majority of people that voted ‘wet’ on this election were doing so in hopes of drawing business to this community and drawing economic opportunity,” said Elkhorn City resident Lee Boyd. “I also believe that many of the wet voters believe that this ordinance was to help drive tourism and that normally happens during the weekend. And by not allowing sales on Sunday, I think we’re limiting the income possibilities.”
To counter that argument, Elkhorn City Baptist Church Pastor Aaron Butler said this topic is a spiritual decision for him because the separation of church and state has nothing to do with “separating God from who you are.”
“I do believe there are a lot of people who come to this town on Sunday for church,” Butler said. “About 110 come to our church and don’t live inside city limits and they come here every Sunday.
“I don’t think it’s too much just say ‘hey look,” consider the idea that maybe on Sundays they don’t have to deal with something they voted against,” he added.
City resident and director of the Artists Collaborative Theatre Stephanie Richards offered a middle ground to the debate. Richards thought back to the alcohol forum which took place in November, during which Dr. Lorraine Garkovich, a retired professor of Sociology with the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture and Community and Leadership Development asked those who were in attendance what they feared regarding alcohol sales.
“All she did was address the fear of what we’re looking at,” Richards said. “Not what we should do or not what we shouldn’t do, but just what are we afraid of.”
According to Richards, each side (those for and against Sunday sales) have fears, but just as a marriage, she said both sides must find a compromise.
“One side is afraid of losing their town economically,” Richards said. “The other is afraid of losing their town spiritually, but what we’ve not looked at is how we cross over together.”
This topic is something the council knew may be issue as they have discussed it over the course of several work sessions leading up to the creation of the ordinance.
Ultimately, the city voted to not allow Sunday sales, with council members Louis Cantrell, Rob Lester, Cory Bailiff, Mike Stacy and Mayor Mike Taylor voting “No.” The lone two “Yes” votes came from council members Roger Copley and Roxanne Blankenship.