Commission rejects alcohol amendment, proclaims City Government month

Published 12:30 pm Monday, September 11, 2023

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There will not be any Sunday sales of packaged alcohol in Winchester, at least for the time being.

An ordinance amendment proposed by City Commissioner Hannah Toole was defeated by a 3-2 vote at last Tuesday’s City Commission meeting.

The amendment would have allowed package alcohol sales from 1-8 p.m. on Sundays. It would have to have been read at the following two Commission meetings before facing a formal vote.

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“I ask you to consider this expansion of package alcohol sales as a business vote,” Toole said. “These businesses have chosen to come to Winchester, invest in our town, and open their own businesses. And, we in turn, should be supporting them and allowing them within the time frame that generally is practiced across the state.”

Toole also reminded her fellow commissioners that if Winchester residents traveled out of town to purchase packaged alcohol, other business would be lost.

“So if you have to go to Lexington at 1 p.m. to go to Liquor Barn, ‘Well, I’ve got to get gas,’’ Tool said, expressing the thought of a hypothetical shopper. “’Maybe I’ll get lunch at Drake’s, go to Target and maybe shop at Meijer.”

Toole and Commissioner Kitty Strode were the “yes” votes, while Mayor JoEllen Reed and Commissioners Shannon Cox and Kenny Book were the “no” votes.

In October 2022, a previously established section of the Winchester Code of Ordinances was amended to allow alcohol sales by the drink from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Previously, the sales hours were from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

City Government Month proclaimed

The Commission took the time to mark City Government Month during the meeting.

Before the meeting officially began, at least one city government employee was already being recognized.

For having been named Kentucky Fire Chief of the Year by the Kentucky Association of Fire Chiefs, Winchester Fire Chief Chris Whiteley was first honored – to his surprise – by members of the Winchester Fire Department, several city commissioners, and others at a ceremony beginning approximately ninety minutes before the City Commission meeting began.

“You all are the reason for it,” Whiteley said, addressing Winchester Fire Department employees. “This is one heck of a shock. Thank you!”

Shortly after the start of the meeting, in which Roy Hudson gave the invocation, and Clark County Public Schools Superintendent Dustin Howard led the Pledge of Allegiance, other city employees present were recognized.

With all City Commissioners and others standing – including Winchester First marketing and events director Cameron Correll and city manager Mike Flynn –  Reed read a proclamation declaring September 2023 City Government Month.

“[T]he city of Winchester does hereby designate September 2023 as ‘City Government Month,’” Reed read. “Be it further resolved that city officials and employees are encouraged to collaborate with local elementary schools to educate students about their city government and to engage them in city services.”

As part of a civics awareness campaign and desire for city officials to be involved in educating and engaging elementary school students in city government, the Winchester 5th Grade City Government Academy will be taking place on Wednesday, Sept. 13, and Thursday, Sept. 14.

Tax rates

The Commission heard a first reading of an ordinance setting the 2024 tax rates on motor vehicles and watercraft at 19.5 cents per every $100 valuation. If approved, the rate would remain unchanged from the one approved for 2023.

In other business, the Commission…

Voted to approve a request from the Winchester Fire Department to close Depot St. from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 28, for the Pay Attention to Fire Prevention event.

Voted to approve a request from the Clark County Fish and Game Club to close Depot St. from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, for a Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser.

Voted to approve a request from Winchester First to close Main St. from Lexington Ave. to Washington St. and around the Clark County Courthouse from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, for the Halloween Main-ia event. As part of the same vote, the Commission set neighborhood trick or treat from 5:30-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

Sun associated editor Warren Taylor also contributed to this story.