CAVE CITY – City officials are reporting a collection of more than $5.6 million in gross receipts for the sale of alcoholic beverages, both packaged alcoholic beverages and liquor by the drink sold in restaurants for the 2015 calendar year.
“It’s just unreal,” said Mayor Dwayne Hatcher, when he spoke to members of the Cave City Tourist and Convention Commission earlier in the week. “It’s good for our region and our economy, but people, we have to very careful in understanding (that) it’s very controlled and very restricted on how we spend that money.”
State law allows the governing body of a third-or-fourth-class city to impose a regulatory license fee on the gross receipts of the sale of alcoholic beverages. Cave City’s regulatory license fee on the gross receipts of alcoholic beverages sold for both packaged alcoholic beverages and liquor by the drink in restaurants is 5 percent.
As of July 2013, Cave City had an estimated population of 2,292 people and was classified as a third-class city, which was when city residents voted to allow the sale of packaged alcoholic beverages.
The money collected from the regulatory license fee can be spent only in a specific way.
“We can spend it on what it takes to regulate the alcohol business,” Hatcher said.
That would include the police department, and in some instances, the fire department, he said.
It can also be used to pay the salary of the alcoholic beverage control administrator, who is Jennifer Freeman, the city clerk, as well as the salary of the city’s attorney, Bobby Richardson, when he is doing legal work pertaining to the regulation of the sale of alcoholic beverages, Hatcher said.
“It’s a tremendous help to our community and our economy and to our city as a whole, but it is not as lucrative as far as city operations as people think it is,” he said.