City hears first reading of alcohol ordinance

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By Doug Ponder

The Hodgenville City Council heard the first reading of the proposed alcohol beverage control ordinance during a special called meeting on Thursday, May 17.

The city has been working quickly to create an ordinance as the Kentucky ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) gives cities that pass a wet/dry vote up to 60 days from the day of the election to pass any city ordinances pertaining to the sale of alcohol. With the wet/dry election taking place on April 17 of this year, their 60 days to pass an ordinance will end on June 16. However, Hodgenville Clerk Toni Burton informed the council during the special meeting that June 16 is on a Saturday and that it will actually end on the next business day of Monday, June 18. She said this is just a formality as the city hopes to have an ordinance in effect by that time.

Once the ordinance is passed, the state ABC will run what is referred to as a “notice of vacancy” advertisement in the local newspaper for a period of 30 days. When the time of the advertisement has elapsed, Burton said the state ABC will give them a timeline on when the license applications can be taken.

Burton said they have been told by the state ABC that Hodgenville will have two full package store licenses and two full drink licenses. In a nutshell, Burton said that means two full liquor stores and two bars. Burton said that there is not a waiting list for who will get these four specific licenses. She said the state ABC will review the license applications they collect for these specific licenses and the State ABC will decide who receives them based on their qualifications.

There is not a limit on other licenses such as licenses that allow stores to sell beer only. There are 22 other licenses that are defined in the draft city ordinance that range from a distiller license to a qualified historic site license. Although these licenses are unlimited, Burton said the state ABC still reviews them for any errors or issues before they are granted.

The ordinance outlines what a business or individual has to do if they wish to apply for any of the specific license. According to KRS 424.120, those wishing to apply for a license must publish a notice of intent advertisement in their local news source, which for LaRue County is The LaRue County Herald News. After the advertisement, they must fill out the actual application. Aside from doing these requirements, Burton also said that there are several other requirements that are often forgot about such as meeting the building/operation requirements of the local health department, planning and zoning board, building inspector and fire marshal. She said if any of these requirements are not met, then a license wont be granted.


The ordinance states that a regulatory license fee of 5% will be charged on the gross sales of all alcohol beverages that is sold under each license.

During a previous working session, Hodgenville Mayor Kenny DeVore said he thought the total alcohol sales in Hodgenville during their first year would total around $365,000 and five percent of that would be around $17,800. DeVore said he then came up with some figures for their first year expenses of 4,000 for personnel costs, 1,200 for additional office equipment and supplies, $2,400 for space, utilities, communication; $1,200 travel to ABC seminars, 6,000 for policing of the ordinance, 600 for attorney fees and $600 for advertising of ordinances and policies relating to alcohol for an overall estimated total of around $16,000.

Council member Lisa Reidner asked why they should charge 5% percent for all alcohol when Elizabethtown charges a higher percentage tax for bars than a restaurant. She said they could charge more taxes for different things like Elizabethtown.

DeVore said he didn’t believe charging 5% across the board would hurt them too bad. He also said that he didn’t like comparing Hodgenville to Elizabethtown because of the population difference. DeVore said that he has tried to contact other cities the size of Hodgenville to no avail. The council then agreed to go with 5% which is what is in the ordinance.

License fees

The ordinance includes 22 different licenses with different annual fees. The licenses are for two liquor stores, two bars, stores or restaurants that sell beer only, microbrewery license, auction license, historic site license and more. The annual prices range from $3,000 to $100 depending on the operation. At this time, city officials said the expected annual revenue is unpredictable.

City ABC administrator

The ordinance states that Mayor Kenny DeVore and the city council appoints Hodgenville Clerk Toni Burton as the city’s ABC administrator upon passage of the ordinance.

Hours of operation

The hours of operation for alcohol sales are Mondays through Saturdays from 6 a.m. until 12 a.m. (midnight) and on Sundays from 12 p.m. (noon until 12 a.m. (midnight) as long as the business has the appropriate Sunday sales license from both the city and state. News Year’s Eve is the only exception where it the time of sale is extended until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

Other information

The ordinance also includes other information about not consuming alcohol inside a store where it is bought, with the exception of sampling for wineries, microbreweries, etc. It also includes no selling alcohol to people under 21-years-old, keg registration, sign and advertising requirements, habitual congregating and more.