Tryon town council is considering whether or not it can help its ABC store financially, which is making progress but still struggling since it reopened in May 2013. (photo by Leah Justice)
Tryon town council is considering whether or not it can help its ABC store financially, which is making progress but still struggling since it reopened in May 2013. (photo by Leah Justice)

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Tryon commissioner asks if town can help ABC store with finances

Published 10:55pm Monday, January 27, 2014

Tryon Commissioner George Baker asked town council last week if there is any way the town can financially help its ABC store, which he said is struggling.

Baker said the ABC board continues to make progress and actually made a profit last month, but he thinks it’s time for the town to step up and help.

“They are struggling,” Baker said. “I’d like to forgive the water and garbage for six months and see if that helps.”

Baker also said the ABC store still has last year’s audit fees of nearly $3,000 he asked if the town could pay.

Whether or not the town can help the store financially is still in question.

Tryon attorney Bailey Nager said he has concerns about the town legally helping the store financially. He said the only way the town can help is for economic development reasons, which would require a public hearing.

“I don’t think you can just use taxpayer dollars to forgive an ABC bill,” Nager said.

Town manager Joey Davis also said he has looked into the town forgiving the ABC’s water/sewer/garbage bill but per the N.C. School of Government the town cannot waive one commercial entity of utility bills and not the others.

Baker said he’s not trying to do anything illegal.

“We’ve worked so hard with this ABC board and I see it as such a benefit for the town,” Baker said.

He said he doesn’t personally go to the store, but a lot of people like the town having that service. He said he also knows there are those people who perhaps are against alcohol in any way, shape or form.

“I think they’ve really worked hard down there so I’d like to see them not have all that work go in vain,” Baker said. “They do owe (the town) $10,000 so we have a pretty big stake in them making it. I’d like to see the town get our 10-grand back.”

The ABC store was shut down by the town and the state in September 2012 following an inventory and audit that concluded there was approximately $3,000 worth of liquor missing. The state initially recommended that the store either merge with Columbus, which wasn’t interested, or shut down permanently because of lack of making profit.

The ABC store devised a plan on how the store could make it and took out a $30,000 loan to reopen. The store reopened with a new manager in May 2013.

Town council tabled its discussion during its Jan. 21 meeting saying Davis and Joey will meet to figure out what, if anything, the town can do.

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