Alcoa Liquor Referendum

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Alcoa voters overwhelmingly approved package store liquor sales in last week's election. Tuesday, city commissioners are taking the first steps toward getting the new stores in this community.

As Volunteer TV's Gary Loe reports, Alcoa officials passed an ordinance on first reading which provides some rules the package stores will have to follow.

The sale of packaged liquor is coming to Alcoa. A majority of city voters cast their ballots in an election day referendum in favor of the retail alcoholic beverage sales. Alcoa city commissioners are now establishing regulations for the sale of packaged liquor.

"It's not our job to decide what the public wants, it's our job to see that it's done in a legal and ethical fashion. They made their decision," city commissioner George Williams said.

Commissioners approved a motion to limit the number of package liquor stores within Alcoa to 3, which will ideally locate in 3 separate areas of the city. Also, among the considerations commissioners must approve are establishing inspections, fees, required licenses, store locations, and hours of operation.

"I never thought it would have passed in the city of Alcoa, especially by the margin that it did, but it did, it really did," commissioner Clint Abbot, Jr.

The liquor stores will add tax revenues needed to operate city government.

"Maryville's building a Wal-Mart down on 4-11, and it's going to give us an opportunity to recoup some tax money that we would have lost," Abbot said.

Alcoa commissioners expect to unanimously pass the liquor store oversight ordinance on second reading in December. Then, the application process begins to determine who will own the 3 package stores.

"We're not the Alcoa of my childhood, and liquor stores I guess is just something new like everything else on the horizon for us," commissioner George Williams said.

Alcoa city commissioners expect to receive all applications from prospective liquor store owners by mid-January. The state allows 60-days to either accept or reject an applicant.