No increase anticipated for Fulton’s 7% Alcohol fee

by Benita Fuzzell

While there were no citizens or business owners present for the May 28 Public Hearing for a review of the City of Fulton’s Alcoholic Beverage Fee, City Attorney Allison Whitledge conducted the hearing, requesting Fulton Police Chief Terry Powell, the city’s Chief Financial Officer Lisa Morgan and City Clerk Helen Lee provide information regarding the topic.

After having been sworn in, Chief Powell provided to Mayor David Prater, Commissioners Elaine Forrester, Martha Vowell, Jeff Vaughn and Darcy Linn, information requested by Whitledge as to the data from June, 2018 through April 2019, regarding alcohol related incidents which occurred in the city, as well as the ratio of those alcohol related incidents to the total incidents for which FPD officers responded.

Chief Powell reported for domestic violence incidents, 10 of 45 were alcohol related, for a percentage of 22.22%; disturbances, 83 of 156, for 53.21%; DUI/traffic stops, 45 of 2225, for 2.02%; fights, 9 of 25, 36%; suspicious situations, 13 of 148 for 8.78%; assist to other agencies, 4 of 21, 19.05%; alcohol enforcement, patrolling establishments, 5666 of 5666 for 100%; al/arrest/warning, 10 of 10, 100%;and suicidal person, 9 of 19, 47.37%.

Reports indicated a total of 5844 incidents out of 8315 total qualified incidents were alcohol related for that time period, Chief Powell said, at 70.28%.

As to sworn testimony from Morgan, she stated in 2018, $293,033 was collected as a result of the city ordinance enacting the alcohol regulatory licensing fee, with an anticipated $255,000 for 2019.

Morgan also reported regarding the police department’s total annual budget of $819,525, the figure collected through the fee accounted for 36% of the department’s budget.

Fulton City Clerk Helen Lee explained her responsibilities relating to her position as ABC Administrator for the city, which includes to send out quarterly forms to business owners which sell alcohol.

City Manager Mike Gunn’s recommendation regarding the results of the annual review of the fee was to keep the fee at its current rate of 7%, with the commission in agreement to Gunn’s recommendation.