BY DAVID FISHER
GREENFIELD (March 8, 2022) — A major topic of discussion during Tuesday night’s Greenfield City Board meeting concerned amending the city’s Beer Ordinance.
Other topics of interest included: the announced retirement of the Parks and Recreation Director; the purchase of equipment for the city’s water and sewer system; the sale of city property; the needs of the Senior Citizens Center; and the cancellation of the Fiddlestick Festival.
Revised Beer Ordinance Approved
City Attorney Beau Pemberton stated, under Greenfield’s current Beer Ordinance, the distance between a public gathering place, such as a church, school or daycare, and an establishment that sells beer is currently 2,000 feet.
Pemberton noted, by comparison, the distance limitation in neighboring municipalities is as follows: Dresden has a 50-foot limitation, Sharon 100 feet, Gleason 300 feet, Bradford 300 feet, Dyer 400 feet, and Rutherford 200 feet.
He explained the board has the authority to amend its Beer Ordinance to make it less restrictive but cannot make it more restrictive than the current 2,000-foot distance requirement.
According to Pemberton, unlike certain other cities, Greenfield’s current Beer Ordinance is somewhat ambiguous in that it specifies 2,000 feet “measured in a straight line.” Unlike other municipalities, it does not specify whether the distance limitation is measured from door-to-door or property line to property line. “The assumption has always been from property line to property line,” Pemberton said.
“I don’t think by changing the ordinance to make beer more accessible will in any way be promoting the sale of alcohol,” Alderman James Roy Pope said. “We’re talking about package beer sales and package beer sales only, at this time.”
Pope noted that those who purchase beer elsewhere drive on Greenfield’s streets, but the tax revenue generated from alcohol sales is not received by the city. He noted the additional tax money collected from beer sales could be spent on improving city streets.
According to City Recorder Callie Croom Smithson, Greenfield currently only has one business that sells beer. This is the Tobacco SuperStore, located at 3770 North Meridian St. This business pays approximately $20,000 annually in local sales taxes for beer sales.
“Our general paving runs between $30,000 and $40,000 per year,” Pope said. He advocated using tax revenue from beer sales for maintaining roads.
Pope stated reducing the distance limitations would give local businesses the option of selling beer, if they wish to do so. He said, some of these stores are struggling, and this might encourage them to remain in Greenfield.
This same issue has been raised by business owners in other local towns, who argue they can’t compete with stores that sell beer if they are not allowed to do the same.
Pemberton read the current ordinance regulating beer sales as follows:
“No permit authorizing the sale of beer will be issued where such business will cause congested traffic, or interfere with schools, churches, cemeteries, or other places of public gathering; or would otherwise interfere with the public health, safety or morals. In no event, will a permit be issued authorizing the storage, sale, or manufacture of beer within 2,000 feet of any school, church or other such places of public gathering measured in a direct line.”
After careful consideration, the board decided to reduce the distance from businesses selling beer from a church or school to 300 feet from property line to property line.
The motion passed 5 to 3, with Alderpersons Donald Ray High, Leanna Stephenson and Chris Turbyville voting against the measure.
According to Pemberton, the ordinance must be drafted, approved on first, second and third readings, and open to citizen input at a public hearing.
After the revised ordinance receives final approval, the board can earmark beer sales tax revenue to be spent exclusively on the maintenance and improvement of city streets.
The board also received a copy of a proposed liquor referendum for its consideration, which will be discussed during the April 12, 2022, meeting.
Parks and Recreation Director to Retire
Parks & Recreation Director Kirk McCartney made the surprise announcement that he is retiring from his post at the end of this year’s baseball season, which is around July 1. He said he has enjoyed serving as park director, for the past 22 years, but feels like his time has come to retire.
“I’m self-employed now with my business and have a lot on my plate,” he said.
McCartney stated he would be glad to help his replacement anyway he can.
“We had our baseball sign-ups,” McCartney said. “We have four T-ball teams, two Coach Pitch teams, two 9-10 year-old minor teams, and one Major Little League team. I’m having a little bit of a problem finding coaches for a couple of teams, but I’m hoping to put everything together before the weekend, and start practicing on Monday.”
McCartney stated there will be a Coke sales fundraising event for the park program again this year.
At McCartney’s request, the board appointed Alderpersons Chris Turbyville and Leanna Stephenson as members of the Parks and Recreation Board.
McCartney is seeking sponsors for this year’s park program. Anyone interested in sponsoring a team is asked to contact McCartney or City Hall by April 8.
Public Works Reports Sewer System Issues
Public Works Director Robert Rodriguez discussed problems associated with a 31-year-old sewer pump that had to be replaced. He stated replacement parts can no longer be obtained for the antiquated pump. The new pump was purchased on a state bid at $63,000, and was the last one in stock. Rodriguez mentioned he checked with a couple of other suppliers, but they don’t accept state bids, and a comparable pump would have cost $70,000-$85,000.
Mayor McAdams stated, if the city had waited any longer to procure the pump, it would be months before another unit would be available.
Rodriguez stated the tank for the new pump is rated at 375 gallons and, at 2,000 psi, will operate for 35 minutes per tank. The old pump had a capacity of 300 gallons and, at 2,000 psi, would operate for 20 minutes. Additionally, the new pump is digital.
According to Rodriguez, since the old pump stopped working last month, Dresden helped out, but they had so many problems already with the tornado damage, other municipalities offered to assist Greenfield. The cities of Gleason, Kenton, Bradford and Martin assisted Greenfield with its sewer pump problem. “Kenton came over here – their machine tore up. Bradford came over here – their machine tore up. Martin came over here – they blew a hose. Gleason came over and finally (got it to work). So, we were having really bad luck trying to get everything done,” Rodriguez said.
Alderman Donald Ray High affirmed the purchase was necessary saying, “We can’t keep borrowing from other cities.”
Rodriguez said Greenfield’s sewer system machinery is more than 40 years old and added, “We’re going to start having problems.”
City Recorder Callie Croom Smithson stated the pump will be paid for out of the city fund.
Rodriguez reported a new Public Works Department truck that’s on order should be delivered sometime this month.
Darryl Webster, who owns property located at 309 and 311 Evergreen St., stated he wishes to obtain a quitclaim deed to a 14-foot-wide strip of property located between two other parcels of land he owns on Evergreen Street, so he can join his two lots together.
The area in question, which is owned by the city, goes from Evergreen Street to the back of housing owned by Webster.
City Attorney Beau Pemberton said, “The 14-foot strip of property we’re dealing with here is part of a conveyance the city acquired in 1960.” He noted the adjacent property has been subdivided over the past 62 years and that’s why it has never been used for any city purposes. It’s located between 309 and 311 Evergreen Street. Pemberton explained, although the city-owned strip of land has a gravel driveway, it’s never been declared a city street.
The board voted unanimously to grant Webster a quitclaim to the property, as requested.
Senior Citizens Center Needs
At the request of Greenfield citizen Frank Gibson, the board agreed to have the glass repaired on the Senior Citizens Center bus, which is broken. The cost of replacing the glass is estimated at $500.
The mayor stated she heard there is a rotting problem reported in the back area of the bus, which was apparently caused by a leak or condensation. She indicated the problem will be investigated to see what needs to be done to correct the issue.
Gibson noted there has been talk of selling the 15-passenger bus, but argued it is needed, and should be repaired and retained.
Gibson also requested the mayor appoint members to serve on the Senior Citizens Committee. He stated there has not been a committee meeting in a couple of years, and the board needs to be kept informed concerning the needs of the Senior Citizens Center. The facility, which is located at 204 Akin St., provides recreation for area seniors.
Increase Reported in Tax Revenues
Mayor McAdams reported local sales tax collections for the past month was $35,170.27, which is an increase of $5,780.89 over the previous month’s total of $29,389.38.
State sales tax amounted to $22,388.35, which is $4,031.08 more than the previous month’s total of $18,357.27.
The combined state and local sales tax collections is $57,558.62. This represents an increase of $9,811.97 compared to the previous month’s total of $47,746.65.
Fire Department Report
K.K. Robinson, speaking on behalf of Fire Chief Bob Dudley, reported the chief has been in meetings and working with FEMA to procure an emergency generator for the city.
Garbage Contract Considered
Representatives from two solid waste service companies introduced themselves and gave board members a copy of their contract proposals for residential and commercial garbage pickup and removal for the City of Greenfield.
They were Tommy Leggins from Waynes Halfway Home and Dawn Cole with Waste Management (the city’s current solid waste service provider).
Board members agreed to review the proposals and bring the matter back up during their April meeting.
Fiddlestick Festival Cancelled
Greenfield’s Fiddlestick Festival, originally scheduled for April 13-16, has been cancelled, but citizens are hopeful it will return next year.
(See separate article, “Greenfield’s Fiddlestick Festival Cancelled”.)
Mayor McAdams welcomed City Recorder Callie Croom Smithson back after being off for maternity leave for the past three months.
The mayor also reported Leanna Stephenson volunteered to oversee the Yard of the Month program, beginning in May 2022.
The next meeting of the Greenfield City Board is set for Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at 5:30 p.m.