Commonwealth Journal

News Live

January 24, 2013

Can Somerset, ABC come to terms?

(Continued)

Somerset —

As such, the city could support more than five stores — especially given the limited retail capability of those selected.
“Realistically, we’re talking about the economics of it,” said Girdler. “We need a larger place, at least one or two with party supplies. Drug stores are great, but they have limited supplies, one little aisle (for alcohol). They will play a role, but their sales would be 10 times less.”
Girdler made it clear that the city is not asking the state to replace the licensees that were selected, but to add to that number. That said, the city has not issued any Retail Liquor Package licenses yet to finish off the process, and won’t until the situation is resolved, according to Girdler.
“We want to be fair to the applicants,” said Girdler. “(We’ll ask) for a quick court hearing unless the state says, ‘Hey let’s sit down and work something out.’”
Girdler said the purpose of filing the motions would be for a circuit court judge to take a look at the circumstances and indicate whether or not the city has recourse to take action against the state  in order increase alcohol sales revenue.
However, the “simple solution to the problem” is that the state has not dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s on the quota-setting process for Somerset — Girdler says the number was solidified for Pulaski County, but not for the town, as it still needs to go through another procedure to be “codified” according to state law. Thus, there may still be room to expand the number of available licenses without much fuss.
“If they really care about the public’s wishes, they can simply sit down and work with us and everybody’s happy,” said Girdler, “but if they choose to exert their power ... (and) be arbitrary and capricious, and say they don’t really care, we’ll have to ask the circuit judge to take a look at it.
“We want to work with the state ABC,” he added. “ ... We can do this the positive way, which we hope will be successful, or the legal way, which we hope will be successful too.”

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