PERRY -- Businesses in unincorporated Houston County would pay more to sell alcohol under a proposed ordinance.
The Houston County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday held the first reading of an ordinance amending alcohol license fees. The annual fee to sell beer and wine would increase from $350 to $500 each, or a total fee of $1,000 to sell beer and wine. The liquor-license fee, including package and liquor-by-the-drink sales, would go from $3,500 to $4,000. Therefore, the total to sell beer, wine and liquor would go from $4,200 to $5,000.
The board left the fees unchanged when it approved a new alcohol ordinance in August that allowed the sale of alcohol on Sunday. That came just two weeks after Sunday sales were approved in a voter referendum.
Board Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said the fees are being raised now to bring the rates in line with what cities of Warner Robins, Centerville and Perry are charging. He also noted the fees have not been raised in three years.
Raising the fees is going to bring us all in line so that on one side of the street a convenience store or whoever it may be is not at an advantage or disadvantage, because the fees will be basically the same whether you are inside the city limits or in unincorporated areas, Stalnaker said. It brings a uniformity to the alcohol beverage license fees by doing this.
The fees for Houston County, Warner Robins and Centerville would be identical with passage of the countys amended ordinance. Perry would be slightly higher for beer and wine, with a fee of $515 each, and significantly higher for liquor with a fee of $4,660. However, Perry also allows all three to be purchased at $5,000, which would make the charge identical to the others.
The commissioners will have a second reading and vote on the ordinance at its meeting on Oct. 16. The county has 25 businesses that would be impacted by the ordinance.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.