Ordinance passes to allow
beer sales in Bedford, Ky.
Mayor hopes to expand ordinance in future
BEDFORD, KY. (March 2017) – Feb. 14, 2017, was a special Valentine’s Day for Bedford, Ky., Mayor Todd Pollock. That was the day the Bedford City Commissioners voted to approve ordinances to sell beer in Bedford, a successful conclusion to a two-year effort by the mayor. It was the second reading for the measure. Three of the four City Commissioners voted to allow alcohol sales within city limits.
Trimble County saw things differently during the 1930s, according to Taylor. The county voted to be “dry” after Local Option Elections in both 1933 and 1935, but it voted to go “wet” in 1936 by a margin of 112 votes. That lasted until 1943.
“I was expecting it to pass, and it did,” Pollock said. “It is very exciting. I am excited to begin to bring more business into the community.” He anticipates “growing pains” along the way, but he hopes to keep “dollars rolling” into the Trimble County town seat as a result.
Already, John Woods, owner of Bedford Stop and Go Marathon Station, has applied for a license. He ran an advertisement with the intent to apply for a beer license in the Trimble Banner Democrat. Woods has owned the station for 15 years. He said he hopes to have his license by May or June. “It could be earlier,” he said. His station is located at the “Y” of U.S. 421 and S.R. 42. He is hoping it is an ideal location for sales.
This is the first wet-dry vote since 1981, according to Pollock, who added that he never has seen any documentation about that fact. “Several businesses in the community have approached me since I have been mayor about selling alcohol. I see this (alcohol sales) as a great tool for economic development. Trimble County is never going to be a place for industrial development,” he added. He said he thinks that if someone can go to a place where drinks are served with the meal, that will be a plus for the city.
“I researched this in the first year of my term,” he said. He looked into the impact of what happens when small cities that are “dry” go to “wet cities.” Pollock wanted to do the right thing for the city of Bedford. He relied on the help of Tara Kelton, who is Alcohol Beverage Commission Clerk for La Grange, Ky.
“She is so intelligent on all of this,” he said. “She is an asset to me.”
With City Attorney Amy Eversole, the mayor drafted the required ordinances to regulate alcohol sales for Bedford. They were modeled on earlier ordinances that had been passed by city governments in Shelbyville and La Grange.
The new law will not allow sales of liquor or wine, according to Pollock. With a population of only 599 people, Bedford does not have enough people to support a liquor or wine license, according to rules of the Alcohol Beverage Commission (ABC). Kelton said the ABC requires a city to have a minimum population of 2,300 in order to qualify for a liquor store license and 2,500 for a bar.
However, the city of Bedford has set up a process so that the city can be a bit flexible about the sales of liquor, wine and beer. It is called “Special Events,” and it applies to arts and crafts festivals and other events that “pop up,” said Kelton. She will be handling these events for Bedford. She anticipates that these events will be hectic and will happen on a short schedule. “This will include anything where there is an outdoor gathering of people,” she said. It allows for an organization to sell alcohol by the drink for a one- to three-day time period.
Pollock said he plans to set aside funds in the city budget to hire Kelton to work as an ABC Administrator for the city. She will deal with the entire process of administering applications as well as handling special events. The mayor said he hopes she will be on the job within the next few months.
On Dec. 20, 2016, there was a Local Option Election about the issue. Bedford residents voted to allow alcohol sales within the city limits. The ordinances required two readings, first in January, 2017, and second in February, before becoming law. Both were passed.
In April 1943, Trimble County voted to prohibit alcohol sales within the county borders, according to a story by Dave Taylor of the Trimble Banner-Democrat. This followed an intense debate within the community on the heels of the National Prohibition Act and several efforts by local residents to take action. Prohibition became national law in October 1919, but it was repealed in October 1933.
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