City Beer Board Recommends Study of Possible Sales on Sunday and Christmas Day

January 10, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Beer Board Thursday night voted to recommend that the city council consider allowing stores with beer permits to sell on Sunday's from one until six p.m. and all day on Christmas Day.

City businesses licensed to sell beer are currently prohibited from making beer sales during those times under existing city regulations and any change in the rules would have to be made by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on two separate readings of an ordinance and after a public hearing.

Ronnie Dale of the Budweiser Company and K.C. Johnson of the Miller Company both of Cookeville came before the board to ask that Sunday beer sales be considered and they provided some statistics on tax revenue in cities and counties that do and don't permit Sunday sales.

Dale and Johnson claim that Smithville could stand to gain as much as $60,745 in additional tax revenue per year from Sunday beer sales.

The Middle Tennessee Tax Revenue Comparison Report reveals that the City of Smithville, with a population of 4,198 and no Sunday beer sales, generated $154,233 in beer tax revenue in 2006, or $36.73 per person whereas the City of Livingston, that does allow Sunday beer sales with a population of 3,517, generated beer tax revenue of $173,586 in 2006, or $49.35 per person. Dale and Johnson say these figures are based on the 17% tax collection that each municipality gets from the sale of beer.

According to the report, towns with even smaller populations, such as Baxter and Celina that allow Sunday beer sales, generated more per capita beer tax revenue than Smithville, $48.99 per person for Baxter and $53.70 for Celina.

The report further shows that cities with Sunday beer sales average $50.68 per capita, which is $14.47 more per person annually than cities without Sunday beer sales. Dale and Johnson say that in Smithville, with a census population of 4,198, that could mean an additional $60,745 per year in tax revenue.

The report also compares the percentage of revenue growth from beer sales in selected cities and counties over an eight year period from 1998 to 2006 based on the 17% tax collections.

In the counties of Cannon, DeKalb, Fentress, Macon, Smith, and Van Buren and the cities of Lafayette, Pikeville, and Sparta (combined), where no Sunday beer sales are allowed, the average percentage of beer tax revenue growth from 1998 to 2006 was 9.5%

In the counties of Clay, Cumberland, Jackson, Putnam and the cities of Auburntown, Algood, Baxter, Celina, Crossville, Cookeville, Gordonsville, and Livingston (combined), where Sunday beer sales are allowed, the average percentage of beer tax revenue growth from 1998 to 2006 was 25%.

Dale and Johnson say actual beer tax revenue in DeKalb County, outside the city, dropped by 39% over the eight year period going from $133,365 in 1998 to $81,780 in 2006, and while actual numbers were not provided, Dale and Johnson claim that Smithville's beer tax revenue has increased during that time, because more stores in the city are now selling beer, such as Wal-mart and Food Lion, among others, which has taken some beer business away from stores in the county.

Beer board member Steve Hays made a motion that a recommendation be made to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen that a study and decision be made on whether beer sales should be allowed on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and all day on Christmas Day. Board members Annette Greek, Lloyd Black, and Farron Hendrix all voted in favor of the recommendation. Alderman Willie Thomas, another member of the beer board, was absent.

The issue may be brought up for discussion at the next city council meeting on Monday, February 4th.

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