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Quorum Court sides with 'dry'

Posted: June 6, 2014 - 10:22am

The Faulkner County Quorum Court has expressed its opinion that Faulkner County stay “dry” — or “damp,” as Justice of the Peace Randy Higgins put it. The quorum court met in a special meeting Thursday night to consider the resolution. 

The resolution is one of the briefest on record. The substantive language is, “this body is opposed to Faulkner County being a “wet” county.”

JP Steve Goode asked for the special meeting to express the quorum court’s resolve last week, and presented figures and statistics that he said show that liquor stores and beer sales will end up costing the county money, maybe enough to require a tax increase. 

Goode’s numbers take the current yearly DUI rate per 10,000 residents in “wet” Washington County (Fayetteville), which he said is comparable to Faulkner County because Fayetteville too is a “city of colleges.” Washington County has 105 DUI incidents per 10,000 while Faulkner County has 38. Goode said that he would expect going “wet” to bring about a similar increase in drunk-driving arrests, and with a night in jail costing taxpayers about $68, Goode said, a comparable number of DUI arrests would cost the county about $54,000 per year. 

Added to this, Goode told the quorum court, he would expect that at least two new deputies would have to be hired, each at about $44,000 per year with benefits and insurance, and another $48,000 for two more patrol cars and $10,000 per year in fuel. With three new deputies, Goode said, the total new cost to the county would be $165,000.

$20 million per year in alcohol sales was, Goode said, a number that both pro- and anti-“wet” sides agree on, which would raise $100,000 in taxes that would be split between roads and criminal justice.

Based on this, Goode said, a “wet” vote would cost the county money.

JP Linda Paxton pointed out that the ordinance was “not in any way going to stop the petition drive.”

Goode said he hoped that voters who see the drive to Morrilton or Maumelle as “an inconvenience” might not be inclined to sign “if they were aware it would be a financial drain that might result in increased taxes." 

JP Damon Edwards said that it was “incumbent on us as leaders to take a position,” and voted for the ordinance. “But if it gets enough signatures it’s up to the people and that’s how it should be.”

The ordinance passed with no votes against it. JPs John Pickett and Frank Shaw were absent. County Judge Allen Dodson publicly apologized to these JPs, saying that he should have called them to make sure they didn’t have any prior engagements before setting the special meeting for Thursday night.

Dodson also urged the court to consider ways of controlling liquor stores and beer sales if the push for a “wet” county succeeds.

“We need to think through what we have the authority to enact and what it makes sense to enact … that may be a further restriction on the already existing state statutes,” Dodson said, also saying that exercising the county’s zoning authority would be one “obvious” way to control the development of a “wet” county.

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Jollymusician
231
Points
Jollymusician 06/06/14 - 11:31 am
7
2
What is the point

What is the point of the ordinance if it will have no impact on the petition drive? The Quorum Court, in my opinion, needs to listen to the will of the voters and not pass stupid ordinances such as this. If the QC wants to oppose the measure, then they should do so as individuals and not as a government entity.

Igor Rabinowitz
9277
Points
Igor Rabinowitz 06/06/14 - 12:33 pm
3
2
Am I the only one...

... who has some question with the math? That maybe it was used only after a conclusion was reached, as in "mind made up?"

For that matter, couldn't the same math be used to "prove" that DUI arrests need to decrease?

Are these some of them-there activist judges we hear about so often?

EDIT:
In fact, come to think of it, can this same math be used to prove that the private club option (which, I suspect, our same judges opposed) has cost the county money?

And then we're not/talking direct cost, as opposed to the cost:benefit of a downtown revitalized with restaurants able to operate at a profit and in turn attract further business reach downtown - no small trick in a two Walmart town.

No, this appears to be all tied up in morality far more than financial regard.

alipage72
1590
Points
alipage72 06/06/14 - 12:44 pm
5
1
Well

Good thing it isn't up to one small room of people to decide the lives of a whole county full of different people.

lachowsj
5556
Points
lachowsj 06/06/14 - 05:18 pm
6
1
Selective statistics

Mr. Goode conveniently compares one year of DUI statistics in Faulkner and Washington Counties because, well, Fayetteville has a college too so they must be like us.

How about we look at this more scientific and broad based study. According to the "dry county" entry in Wikipedia, "Statistics done by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), also support the claim of higher rates of DUI accidents in dry counties, 'dry counties had a fatality rate in drunk driving accidents of 6.8 per 10,000 people. Conversely, wet counties had 1.9 per 10,000 people.'"

And here is another one of Mr. Goode's "facts." He said he "would expect" that two more deputies would have to be hired. What makes him expect that? I didn't read about any testimony to that effect from the police or sheriff's department. Sounds like he just made that up.

And why was a special meeting necessary? If they insisted on making their opinion known, couldn't it have been done at a regular meeting?

357
1874
Points
357 06/06/14 - 07:12 pm
3
3
lachowsj

Interestingly, Just about every one of your questions were answered at the meeting.

Protondecay123
64
Points
Protondecay123 06/07/14 - 08:29 am
6
1
Morality Play

And nothing more. A waste of time and public resources. Who really care what the Quorom Court thinks about the issue? Let the voters decide.

swanman60
26
Points
swanman60 06/07/14 - 10:19 pm
2
1
just makes no sence

I don't understand why Faulkner County wants to keep giving there tax dollars to other Counties? Conway says how broke they are but yet still wants to let all the tax dollars go to other counties by voting to stay dry.Lets get with modern times people. You want to treat us like a wet county with all your dumb ass laws. You want tax the hell out of the alcohol that all the restaurants and private clubs sell and you want to have sobriety check points all over Faulkner County but yet you wont let us but it here good job idiots.

swanman60
26
Points
swanman60 06/07/14 - 10:48 pm
3
2
Here's a real problem for you to deal with wait no one care's

Hay Quorum Court here's one for you why don't you look into some of the shady crap going on at the Sanitation Department? Every position that open's out there either goes to the Directors family,friends or church members. You have people applying for positions that open that have been there for a while and are told that either they were not there long enough or don't qualify for the position but yet You have a person who has only been there 3 weeks and has been promoted to Manager. There was someone who has been with the Sanitation Department a long time and is clearly more qualified but was passed over because the man who got the job is a deacon at her church so why don't you have a look at that or pass it on to someone who cares.
Thanks
M.Swanson

357
1874
Points
357 06/08/14 - 08:29 am
1
0
Hey Swanman60,

You obviously don't understand the difference between city government and county government, most of your complaints should be directed at the city council. The quorum court has nothing to do with the city being broke or who does or does not get hired at city departments.

swanman60
26
Points
swanman60 06/08/14 - 09:42 am
1
0
reply

Hay you just don't understand they do nothing if you complain.So now who do you go to?

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