The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen Monday night received both praise for and appeals to reconsider passage of an ordinance amendment allowing 24-7 beer sales and on premises permits in eligible businesses.
The aldermen adopted the ordinance amendment by a 3-2 vote on second and final reading passage during a special meeting on Thursday, December 27. And while Mayor Jimmy Poss could have vetoed the measure, requiring four aldermen votes to override, he chose instead to sign it. Since that vote, Mayor Poss apparently began to reconsider and contemplated casting a veto, but a legal consultant for MTAS, the Municipal Technical Advisory Service, said that once the mayor had signed the ordinance amendment, as adopted by the aldermen, it had the full effect of law and was no longer subject to a veto.
(PLAY VIDEO BELOW OF CITY COUNCIL PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD)
Steve White, former alderman and resident of South Mountain Street, spoke during the public comment period at Monday night's meeting. White said the aldermen still had an opportunity to reconsider before approving the minutes and he called for them to reverse their decision or for the mayor to cast a veto."One of the big things I can't understand is why this board would just disregard the City of Smithville's voters who voted twice in the last six months not to expand the sale of alcohol and not to add alcohol in restaurants," said White. "Gayla (Hendrix), Jason (Murphy) you still have the opportunity to change your vote and to rescind your vote from the special meeting. Until the minutes are passed and approved, you still have the opportunity to change your vote. Mayor, you have the opportunity to veto. You do have that option. This is fact and the facts will stand when all the underlying of greed and evils are gone. I just beg of you to make the right decision on that. I don't think anybody in here has any doubt what the right decision is," said White
Robin Driver, a local business owner and resident of West Church Street, commended the aldermen for being progressive. "I have been here all my life. My family on both sides have been here since the 1700's or 1800's," said Driver. " I am very proud to call Smithville my home. That's the reason I chose to stay here in my adult life and start my businesses here. I'm very proud to see a commission who is willing to take a stand and do something to move this county and city forward. We have Center Hill Lake, one of the largest resort destinations in this area with 1.8 million people a year who come here. These people bring revenue to our businesses. They bring revenue to our county and they expect certain things when they come here. I would like to say we appreciate you. I have spoken to many, many business owners who are not able to be here tonight but you have the unanimous support of almost every business owner I have spoken to. I want to thank you (aldermen) for doing something progressive and doing something that needed to be done a long time ago. We're the only county of all the counties that join us that haven't done this a long time ago. It will bring business to this community. It will bring business to this city. And it will bring tax dollars," said Driver
Nancy O'Neil of Riley Avenue added "I just want to thank the board for having the courage to make good financial decisions. Thank you so much," said O'Neil.
Randy Paris, a resident of DeKalb County who owns property on East Broad Street in Smithville said the aldermen have made a good business decision. "I want to thank the board too. Its great having business people making good decisions. Money or revenues have been left on the table for a long time. No one has ever sought to go after it. I admire the mayor and board of aldermen. Thanks. I appreciate it," said Paris
Sherry Bush of South College Street said she appreciates the aldermen's efforts to help the city to grow and prosper. "I just want to say as I look at this board... I know all of you. For the most part, you have grown up here, gone to school here, and made the choice to come back here, raise your children here and start your businesses or your professions here. I am filled with pride that DeKalb County and Smithville can produce such high quality people. I want you to know from the bottom of my heart I appreciate what you are doing here. Your goals and the hopes that you put in us that we will see our city grow and prosper. I just want to say thank you," said Bush.
Michael Pinegar of Dearman Street said expanding beer sales will not increase tax revenue all that much but that it would put more drunk drivers on the roads. He also indicated that greed might be a motive for why some want this passed. "We're talking about revenue again. I gave you figures last week. The max you'll get is $50,000 (extra tax revenue) and you'll never sell a million beers (during a year) I don't think even with these tourists coming in. The main thing is the greed. Another figure that I've looked up is on one keg of beer, which I think these men back here (in the audience), that's their main thing is their greed and wanting to line their pockets. On a keg of beer, they can get one hundred sixty five 12 ounce cups of beer. Usually in Cookeville, they will bring $2.50 so that means they are making over $2.00 per beer profit. That is the main reason why they're wanting this. It was mentioned how we are going to prosper like the counties around us. I worked for thirty four years at Carrier in McMinnville and it shut down and moved to Mexico. All the plants in McMinnville just about have moved and all the restaurants there have closed down. So where did all their beer and liquor revenue go? Where is it in these other counties surrounding us? I don't think it's a big advantage for us to get this beer and liquor. All we're going to do is put more drunk drivers on the roads to injure our citizens. You still can change your mind and it still can be vetoed," said Pinegar.
After the public comment period, the aldermen adopted the minutes from the last regular meeting on December 17 and special meeting on December 27 and moved on to other business. They did not reconsider their vote on the beer ordinance amendment and the mayor did not cast a veto.
All were present except Alderman Danny Washer who was absent due to an illness in his family.