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Alcohol sales may be the answer to Morgan County's financial problems

WARTBURG (WATE) – Morgan County wants to spend more money than they take in, so they're looking at different ways to increase its revenue. One of the options involves doing a complete 180 by now allowing alcohol into a historically dry county.

Third district commissioner Dennis Freels says the school system needs new buses and the sheriff's office needs more deputies. He says some think the extra tax from the sale of alcohol will help.

Related story: Morgan County sheriff sues county mayor for additional funding

"At this point every little bit will help. Anything new has to be paid for some way, so if they want that stuff, we're going to have to get taxes somewhere," said Freels.

Commissioners passed a motion earlier this week to take a look at how much revenue could be made through a liquor tax through restaurant sales and store sales. Freels voted in favor of the motion.

"I think it's just something that will raise revenue because of our financial crunch," he said.

Others aren't for the change. Pastor T.J. Aytes says the county is family oriented with lots of churches.

"I don't think Morgan County ought to piggyback off of sin. I believe we're going to have more crime. There's going to be more car accidents. I believe there will be more addictions, more family problems, more divorce," said Aytes.

County Executive Don Edwards says he doesn't like the idea of having liquor in the county. Edwards thinks the county can raise extra money by fixing the roads in hopes of attracting more tourists to the area, who will spend money.

The liquor tax proposal is supposed to be ready in the next month or two. It will then be voted on by the commissioners. If passed, it'll go on the 2016 general election ballot for county residents to decide.


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