By J. Lynn West/News-Exchange
NEW ALBANY – After a May 7 public hearing, New Albany aldermen unanimously passed the ordinance that will implement the sale of wine and liquor.
The motion was made by Alderman at Large Scott Dunnam and seconded by Ward 3 Alderman Tommie Beasley. There was no discussion, and no one expressed either support for, or opposition to, the ordinance during the hearing.
Mayor Tim Kent had said he did not expect any comment because the ordinance simply states that New Albany will follow the state’s default regulations with no changes.
City Attorney Regan Russell said the ordinance and motion had to stipulate an effective date at least 30 days from the date of passage, and that inclusion means the law will take effect June 6.
City residents voted in favor of legalization March 9 with 1,217 in favor and 910 opposed. A similar vote two years earlier had failed by about that same ratio, but it was county-wide. A change in the law this past year allows some cities to vote on liquor and wine sales, including only municipal voters, and that is what was done here in March. Liquor and wine can only be sold in the city or possibly at clubs or resort areas that meet state requirements.
The Alcoholic Beverage Commission legally can begin processing license applications for on-premises or retail package sales after June 6. The application process is complex and can be expensive, and the form states that an applicant can expect processing to take four to six weeks.
Attorney Russell said the ordinance basically was written to reflect state law already in place and to track the city’s beer sales regulations as much as feasible.