CAVE CITY, AR (KAIT) – Voters ushered in a significant change for Sharp County when they approved the sale and manufacture of alcohol on Election Day.
Many businesses have now begun applying to sell alcohol in their stores, but they may face a few more obstacles, particularly in one town.
When the votes were read three weeks ago, Cave City overwhelmingly opposed the county going wet.
It should come as no surprise then that the city is now drafting an ordinance to impose strict rules and regulations on the sale of alcoholic beverages.
"We want our ordinance to be restrictive but still be fair to everybody," said Aaron Presser, the chief of police.
Presser began crafting an ordinance soon after Election Day, using restrictions levied by other cities and states as a model.
He fears that alcohol sales will create more crime and require the city to hire more police officers, which he says it's financially unable to do.
"We had to look at other means on how to better serve and protect this community," Presser said, "which is what we're here to do."
Those other means include possibly restricting not just hard liquor, but also beer and wine, from being sold within 1,000 feet of a school, church or daycare.
"We're looking at limiting the hours of sales, not letting them sell real late at night or early in the mornings to curb some of the crime and issues we have late at night," Presser added.
Another option under consideration is a tax on drinks sold at private clubs or bars that may open in the near future, which may also have restrictions on their operating hours.
"We're not looking to take anybody's right away," the police said, "but, on the same token, we have a duty to protect. That's what my office is looking toward doing is to protect the community, and the only way we see feasible to do it at this point is through restrictions through the ordinances."
The current draft of the ordinance is 16 pages in length and also details what fines will be imposed if any violations are discovered. The ordinance, however, needs approval by the city council.
"I hope for approval," Presser said. "I foresee if it doesn't get approved, we're going to have some issues (with crime)."
Presser will soon meet with three city council members to finalize the wording of the ordinance, which will then be submitted to an attorney to check its legality.
Once that is completed, he expects the council to approve the ordinance at its meeting on Tuesday, December 18.