Troutman ABC Board makes agency contributions, opposes consolidation efforts
BY DEBBIE PAGE
Capping off another strong sales quarter, the Troutman ABC Board presented checks to Drug-Alcohol Coalition of Iredell and the Troutman Police Department at its meeting on April 9.
The police department will receive $1,700.65 to use for its needs, and DACI will utilize its $2,380.89 contribution for alcohol education efforts in the county.
In March, after deducting sales taxes, the Troutman ABC Store had sales of $140,843, a 12 percent increase compared to March of last year ($125,782). The store netted $13,914 in March after all costs were deducted, a 31 percent increase over the same month in 2018.
For the third quarter, the store had $367,569 in sales, despite January and February traditionally being the slowest months. For the quarter, the store had net income of $28,848, a 47 percent increase over the third quarter of last year ($19,564).
For the first three quarters, sales totaled $1,217,773, putting the store on track for $1.55 million in sales for this fiscal year, according to board Chairman Layton Getsinger’s projections.
Getsinger said that ABC Commission reps continue to be amazed by the store’s continued sales increases, which he attributed to the area’s growth, the pleasant and clean store, and the friendly sales staff.
Since the store has reached $298,744 of its ABC Commission mandated working capital allowance of $355,144, the board voted to begin distributions to the Town of Troutman and the town’s designated non-profit agencies.
Troutman Parks and Recreation, the J. Hoyt Hayes Memorial Troutman Library, and Troutman Elementary and Middle Schools, CATS, and South Iredell High School will receive checks at the end of the fourth quarter, with the distribution occurring in July.
The board has paid off just over $37,000 of its $625,000 construction loan since the store’s opening 28 months ago.
OPPOSITION TO BILL REQUIRING ABC BOARD CONSOLIDATION
The state legislature is considering a bill (NC House Bill 91/NC Senate Bill 87) on the modernization of ABC laws. The Troutman board members and the N.C. Association of ABC Boards strongly oppose one section of the bill that would require all ABC Boards within a county to merge by June 30, 2021.
The association’s board of directors opposes this mandated merger because of inequitable bargaining power at the negotiation table among various county boards and a loss of local control over liquor sales in communities. The association does not oppose voluntary board mergers allowed under current law.
Getsinger pointed out costs would actually increase under this mandated consolidation of boards. Because the liquor would no longer be delivered to individual stores, the merged county board would be forced to build a storage facility and hire workers to operate it.
Currently, state-contracted trucks deliver directly to stores, which already have storage areas. The county warehouse would unnecessarily duplicate already existing store warehousing space.
The board would also have to acquire trucks to transport liquor to individual stores and pay associated fuel, insurance and driver costs as well.
In addition, a county ABC manager would need to be hired, according to Getsinger, to oversee all the individual store managers and operations.
Getsinger also pointed out that any associated savings for monthly stipends (a total of $5,400 per year for Troutman’s three board members) will not begin to cover this increase in costs.
According to opponents of the proposal, the consolidation of boards would also do nothing to increase sales while greatly escalating operating costs and significantly reducing the ABC board moneys distributed to local governments and designated non-profit entities.
The bill also includes eliminating a purchase transportation permit required for alcohol purchases exceeding eight liters, allowing special liquor orders of less than a full case, and allowing the delivery of liquor to mixed-beverage clients for a fee.
Other provisions in the bill would allow counties and cities to permit Sunday sales of liquor at ABC stores and would also allow a local option for tastings in ABC stores.
In March the Troutman Town Council passed a resolution opposing the consolidation of the county’s ABC boards.