Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - Updated: 2:53 PM
By Rachel Keller
During last week’s meeting, Marshall County Judge Executive Kevin Neal informed the Marshall County Fiscal Court members and residents that as the end of the first year of alcohol sales draws near, the trend is indicating a potential $60,000 shortfall in ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) revenue. Neal said that in light of recent predictions his administration has “taken a proactive approach in both the administrative and policing/ enforcement budget line items” in an effort to reduce the shortfall, such as freezing the sheriff’s ABC line item. He said ABC Administrator Scott Brown and Sheriff Kevin Byars discussed such measures during a recent meeting.
“Originally the budgeted receipts, when we go back to when we first started planning I think monies were projected over $600,000. You have to reduce that last year, but for this fiscal year budgeted receipts were $477,353; that was a projection. Then when we look at the actual receipts to date, monies that actually have come into the county is $192,999.49. The actual anticipated receipts is $298, 004.77,” he said. “We’ve got license renewals; we estimated about $15,000. The Nov./Dec. quarter we estimated about $40,000 and then the Jan./Feb./March 2017 quarter we estimated about $50,000. That’s a very conservative estimation but it still shows that we are going to potentially be short about $60,000.”
Neal said estimations indicate the revenues are enough to cover administrative costs, which are associated with Brown’s office, and said finding a reliable rhythm is going to take more time as they’re “aiming at a moving target” and still working with estimated numbers. He said because Marshall County is still within its first full year of alcohol sales the estimations, which are by nature unreliable at this point, are all the administration has to work with.
“Everybody understands we’ve yet to have one full year to identify actually how much money is going to come into the county but we still have to budget by statute, we have to approve a budget and those dollars we put into the budget and those dollars obviously we’re staying on top of it but they’re not coming in as projected and we have to adjust along the way,” he said. “I think this is new for everybody but I think it’s also important that decisions we make on the front end having the taxpayers in mind along the way is just as important so we don’t handcuff them on the back end.”
Brown’s quarterly report echoed the theme of revenue shortages, reporting the Aug. 1-Oct. 31 quarter brought in $81,815.52 compared to the previous quarter’s $101,196.22, a little more than $19,000 difference.
Brown said 36 establishments including six restaurants, 19 malt beverage package stores, three private clubs and eight package stores contributed to the most recent quarter and next quarter will welcome a few more establishments. He said Dollar General is going to allow malt beverage package sales in its Aurora, Fairdealing, Draffenville and Hardin stores, which should begin this month. In addition, he said, a package liquor license was awarded to the Mason and Pawley Convenurant in Gilbertsville, which also plans to be open by the end of the month.
Brown also reminded the court that the next quarterly report will only reflect Nov. and Dec. sales as the county will begin acknowledging calendar quarters for revenue reports beginning 2017 in an effort to simplify the process, as discussed in the previous meeting.