Christian Fiscal Court is paving the way for an amendment to its ordinance that was approved more than two years ago authorizing the sale of alcohol on Sundays at the community's two distilleries.
Magistrates voted five to three during their meeting Tuesday in favor of by-the-drink sales on a first reading of the amended ordinance.
A second reading will take place during the court's July 9 meeting.
Christian County Magistrates Terry Bowman, Rich Liebe and Mark Cansler voted against the amendment, with Magistrates Maggie Ferguson, Mark Wells, Darrell Gustafson, Phillip Peterson and Jerry Gilliam casting votes in favor of the amendment.
Gilliam explained his decision in the matter, noting that it was based on tourism, and Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble also shared his thoughts about efforts to amend the ordinance.
Tribble said he supports the sale of alcohol by the drink and would break a tie favoring the measure on second reading if necessary.
Like the original ordinance approved March 28, 2017, the amendment allows by-the-drink sales only from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays and excludes Easter Sunday and Christmas if it falls on a Sunday.
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That original ordinance authorized the sale of souvenir packages and allowed sampling at any licensed Kentucky distillery on Sundays in the county; there are two such distilleries in the local community, Casey Jones Distillery on Witty Lane and MB Roland Distillery in Pembroke.
On hand for Tuesday's vote on the amendment were A.J. Jones and Peg Hays, owners of Casey Jones Distillery, who spoke to the court.
Jones thanked the court for passing the original ordinance two years ago and said it has meant a lot to the distillery industry and tourism.
With the current amendment, he said, local distillers want to have a license enabling them to serve alcohol by the drink on Sundays.
"We are an event venue, not just a distillery," he said of the Casey Jones Distillery. "We want to open our doors to people who are traveling. We just want to have our license work like it should work."
Hays told Gilliam that 95% of Casey Jones' weekend business is from out-of-town guests, and she noted that those weekend tourists are often disappointed when they find out they can't buy alcohol by the drink.
"We have turned down many weekend events because of not being able to do anything with this," said Hays, who cited a partnership with Casey Jones, MB Roland and the Old Glory Distilling Co. in Clarksville.
The three distilleries teamed up last year for the self-guided Stateline Whiskey Tour, offering visitors an opportunity to learn about the distilleries and sample and purchase spirits at each location.
But participants' experiences have been different.
"People on the tour don't have the same parity of experience in Kentucky," Hays explained to the magistrates Tuesday.
She asked the court to vote "yes" on the amendment.
"It's about the economy," she noted.
The court also heard from Chris and Brooke Jung, who gave a presentation on local residents' recent trip to Carentan, France, where they observed the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6 with residents of that community as part of a "sister city" pact.
Representatives of Carentan visited Hopkinsville in March.
The Jungs showed a film with highlights of the June trip.
It was, Brooke Jung said, a powerful and memorable time.
She said the delegation presented plaques to the Carentan mayor and others, and took part in activities including a 1940s-themed dinner.
"People welcomed us into their homes," said Jung, a member of the delegation and executive director of the Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "(These) relationships will last a lifetime."
In other business:
*The court approved on second reading its 2019-2020 budget, which included a grand total in all funds of $29.8 million.
*Christian County Animal Shelter Director Irene Grace said the shelter found homes for 384 animals in May, the most yet with new homes.
"We're really proud of that," she told magistrates.
*The court approved, subject to audit, a cash and investment report for the 2018-2019 fiscal year through May 31. It totaled $13.7 million.
*Magistrates approved an agreement of affiliation between the Hopkinsville-Christian County Crime Stoppers Inc. and the fiscal court, on behalf of the Hopkinsville Police Department.
*The court voted in favor of a resolution that authorizes fees collected through the cold-check program to be retained by Christian County Attorney John Soyars' office and used for operating expenses.
*Magistrates approved a request from Christian County Sheriff Tyler DeArmond in the amount of $1.2 million, the first half of the supplemental payment to the sheriff's budget, which is paid from the county's general fund; those funds go to the state, and the state pays the bills for the local sheriff's office, according to Gustafson.
*The court also approved a request from Christian County Clerk Mike Kem for a $50,000 payment that is the supplemental payment to the clerk's budget, which is paid from the county's general fund.
*Magistrates approved a five-year lease agreement between the county and Jennie Stuart Medical Center. Under the terms of the agreement, the county will buy a new morgue cooler, which will be owned by the county and housed at the hospital.
Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.