Council discusses possible alchohol tax

Jonathan Wright - [email protected]

VANCEBURG — Vacant homes and a potential tax on alcohol sales were the main topics at the Vanceburg City Council meeting Monday evening.

A variety of topics were discussed, ranging from the air evacuation site plan for the city to appointing new members of the vacant property review commission.

Melissa McElroy, representing the air evacuation service that covers Vanceburg, came forward to discuss a request made by the council last month to provide information regarding community usage of the service. The evac service offered the city a wider coverage plan for its citizens.

The council requested the information to inquire about the benefits of the upgrade.

According to McElroy, after getting in touch with the service’s corporate office, she was unable to provide the information as requested. Mayor Matt Ginn, along with several other members of the council and community, seemed skeptical about this development.

“They’ve got to have a way of billing it and tracking it,” Ginn said after the meeting, regarding the information the council requested. “Because they wouldn’t know who had insurance.”

The issue has been tabled until the next council’s meeting, when City Attorney Lloyd Spears would be present to look further into the situation.

During the meeting, council appointed three new members to the city’s vacant property review commission. Officer Joe Paul Gilbert, Patty Kenard and Michelle Roberts were brought on to the commission to address an issue with several dilapidated homes in the city.

Kenard said she produced a list of 12 homes she believed should have a state-certified inspector investigate. The purpose of her appointment to the commission along with Gilbert and Roberts is to find such an inspector.

“It’s all about curb-side appeal,” Kenard said.

Vanceburg Police Chief Joe Billman stepped up to discuss an update to Vanceburg’s alcohol beverage control ordinance. Billman said there has been a one-page change which states the city would receive 5 percent of the gross sales of alcohol.

This increase would be for police department use and Billman made mention of several surrounding cities where this tax benefited them.

“Russell hired a brand new police officer,” Billman said, “which their pay for police officers is starting out $60,000.”

Billman said he was unsure how the tax would affect alcohol sales, but none of the fees for licensing to sell alcohol would be increased.

The council determined the discussion of the ordinance update will serve as the first reading, and therefore no action will be taken upon it at this time.

Jonathan Wright

[email protected]