Amid recent calls to reform the state's ABC boards, Statesville's elected officials oppose the latest overhaul proposal.
That plan calls for merging existing local ABC store control boards into one countywide board. Council members unanimously adopted a resolution April 19 reaffirming their opposition.
"We feel the consolidation proposal is a move in the wrong direction," said City Manager Rob Hites. "It doesn't look like the local boards, such as we have in Statesville, have been the source of problems."
The controversy concerning ABC boards has been focused largely on an expensive dinner for Mecklenburg County ABC members paid for by a liquor company, and salaries for a father-son team in New Hanover County. Both those boards are county entities, not city. The Statesville resolution says, " ... A county ABC Board would take away a community's ability to direct ABC proceeds according to their governing board's desires."
Unlike states that allow private liquor stores, N.C. liquor stores are state-run under the jurisdiction of local ABC boards.
The boards are considered independent political subdivisions of the state. They operate as separate entities, establishing their own policies and procedures, and they have authority to set policy and adopt rules in conformity with ABC laws and commission rules.
Iredell County has two ABC boards: One in Statesville and one in Mooresville. The Statesville board oversees the city's two liquor stores; Mooresville's coordinates the town's three stores.
State ABC law requires using a specific percentage of an ABC store's revenue to fund law enforcement and substance abuse/education programs. Local boards have some latitude in deciding where that money goes.
At the April 19 meeting, Mayor Costi Kutteh said Statesville's ABC board had pumped "in excess of $10million back into the community since its inception in 1973."
Iredell is not the only county with more than one ABC board. Brunswick County has nine ABC boards, each controlling one of nine stores. Gaston County has five, Lincoln County two.