August 19, 2007
Councilman Tony Bishop
Councilman Marty Fulkerson
Councilman Kenny Lewis
Councilman Ron Thomas
Councilman Tim Walker
Councilman Willie Wood
"Much ado about nothing." This Shakespearian reference is an appropriate description of the "alcohol hysteria" pro-restaurant tax factions are attempting to foment in regards to the city reclassification issue.
The first thing Elizabethtown citizens need to know is that if we remain a fourth-class city, packaged liquor stores could still be allowed. All it takes is another citywide election to do so. This almost occurred a few years ago and packaged liquor stores were only barely defeated, along with liquor by the drink.
That election was followed by a second election a few years later. The second election allowed the limited sale of alcohol by the drink in our restaurants. But there is nothing to prevent us from having packaged liquor stores sometime in the future as a fourth-class city. As a fourth-class city, it only takes another citywide election for city voters to decide they want packaged liquor stores throughout our entire city.
The second thing Elizabethtown citizens need to know is that the provisions of KRS 242.1292 regarding packaged liquor sales in a second-class city at a precinct level very likely do not apply to Elizabethtown, as was reported by our city attorney in her report on classification. The reason they very likely do not apply to Elizabethtown is that Elizabethtown already allows the limited sale of alcohol in its restaurants citywide, and therefore there is no prohibition of alcohol in the city, or in any part of the city.
Kentucky Revised Statute 242.1292 addresses a “city of the second class in which prohibition is in effect in all or part of the city”. Since prohibition is not in effect in all or any part of Elizabethtown, it is highly improbable KRS 242.1292 applies to Elizabethtown. That means there is very little likelihood, if any, that there would be packaged liquor stores in Elizabethtown as a second-class city.
As a result of the laws regarding alcohol in second and fourth class cities, there is a much greater chance that we could have packaged liquor stores in Elizabethtown sometime in the future as a fourth-class city, than there is if we correct our city classification to its constitutionally accurate second-class status.
Irresponsible, inaccurate, incomplete, and inflammatory statements have been made by some to intentionally inflame emotions regarding this issue. That such tactics would be used to incite and mislead our citizens about this facet of the classification issue only furthers the concerns of those who question why some seem to be so vested in an unpopular and regressive restaurant tax, and in an unconstitutional fourth-class status.
As leaders, it is important to understand and explain the laws and the facts to our citizens. In this matter, the laws and the facts tell us that reclassifying Elizabethtown to its constitutional second-class status does more to protect Elizabethtown from packaged liquor stores in the future than leaving it in it's unconstitutional fourth-class city status. You can explain this to our citizens and they will thank you for clearing the air regarding this issue. You would be right to support second-class status on all counts: the law, the constitution, and the alcohol aspect of the issue.
Steve Atcher, Chairman
Citizens Committee for Better City Government
P. O. Box 1192
Elizabethtown, KY 42702-1192
Cell Phone 270-766-7891
Home Phone 270-766-1533