The Greenwood City Council met on Tuesday Dec. 5 and voted unanimously to read the ordinance that would establish the permitting process for the selling of alcohol in Greenwood should the sale of it ever become legal.
The proposed ordinance was brought to the council by Alderman Rod Powell in response to two businesses in Greenwood seeking private club licenses to serve alcohol at their establishment.
The council voted at the Nov. meeting to reject measures that would allow two local private clubs to sell alcohol at their businesses. According to Powell, his reason for voting the private clubs down was due to the fact that there is not an alcohol ordinance on the books that would regulate the permitting process or the taxation of the sale of alcohol.
The proposed ordinance includes the state maximum for taxation, with a 10% tax on beer and wine and a 14% tax on mixed drinks. Fees include a $1,500 annual permit for private clubs. The business will be required to provide the fee along with their initial application, however the fee will be refunded if the application is denied.
“By having a steep privilege fee that is renewable every year you have kind of gotten rid of your dives,” said Powell.
Greenwood City Attorney, Mike Hamby, stated that he has gone over the ordinance with David Schoen with the Arkansas Municipal League and they have not found any issues with the ordinance.
The ordinance puts a distance requirement of 2000 feet from building to building of any existing school, church, day care, youth activities organization, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous meeting place, alcohol/narcotic dependency center mental health or assisted facility at the time of application, without prior approval from the City Council. Approval may be revoked for any cause at any time.
The owner of one the private clubs that was rejected earlier this year, Joshua Niles, addressed the council during the citizen’s forum portion of the meeting and asked the council to place his request back on the agenda.
Niles is seeking an ordinance from the city council that would allow him to then apply for the alcohol license with the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. Niles argued that the tax revenue would be beneficial to the city as it continues to grow.