RED SPRINGS — The Red Springs Board of Commissioners wants residents to tell them if they want to have an alcoholic drink with their meal while dining in town.
Beer, wine, and liquor-by-the-drink will be placed on the ballot during the Nov. 6 General Election.
“I’m glad it’s on the ballot,” said Commissioner Duron Burney. “Let the voters decide.”
Town Manager David Ashburn proposed allowing the vote on on-premise sales of alcohol at permitted restaurants and businesses. It is generally regarded as an economic tool to draw in restaurants and keep people from leaving town to dine out.
Attorney Neil Yarborough, filling in as city attorney, said there are two ways to go.
“Allowing beer and wine sales as on-premise sales is the first issue,” he said. “The second is liquor-by-the-drink in restaurants or private member clubs only.”
Ernest Stephens, director of Zoning and Planning, said where alcohol is sold can be controlled through zoning.
The commissioners set a public hearing for June 26 during which comment will be taken concerning a proposed budget that would take effect July 1.
Ashburn’s $10.7 million plan keeps the tax rate at 64 cents for every $100 of property, includes a 3 percent pay hike for employees, and provides the Red Springs Police Department four new vehicles and the town four utility trucks. The public can view the proposed budget at Town Hall from Monday through June 21.
Ashburn said water and sewer rates will have to go up for the town to qualify for a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture that it needs to build a new water plant.
“The old one was built in 1968 or ‘69, and they’ve been trying to maintain it to minimum standards,” Ashburn said.
He said rates would rise about 20 percent, and said an average family of four, which uses about 5,000 gallons of water a month, would be paying $32 after the hike.
“They are patching walls that are falling in,” Burney said. “Our rates are so low that we can’t get loan money to make it happen.”
In other business:
— Three new police officers were introduced. Officer Brent Atkins, Terry Dimrey, and Kevin Creel all will work as detectives.
— A request by Amanda Kerr for a conditional-use permit that is needed to establish an internet cafe was tabled.
One member of the audience spoke up in opposition.
“We don’t need these so-called game rooms,” she said. “The police department can prove it’s not just games.”
Kerr said she has two similar businesses, with workstations that charge for use of the internet. A person must be at least 18 years old to be on the premises. She said no weapons, drugs or alcohol would be allowed on site.
Skill games played for cash or merchandise are part of the business.
“I’m concerned about this business,” said Police Chief Ronnie Patterson. “When they give out money, it becomes gambling.”
Staff writer David Bradley can be reached at [email protected]