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Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Dec. 6

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State only went halfway on alcohol for small towns

Perryville passed its alcohol ordinance into law last week, which means it beat the 60-day deadline it was under and is now prepared for alcohol sales to start.

But for now, Perryville will only get license fees from those wanting to sell alcohol. Such annual fees from businesses that want a license to sell alcohol won’t mean much — a few thousand dollars at most, if that.

One of the biggest arguments in favor of going wet is the additional revenue alcohol sales can bring in for cash-strapped local governments. That revenue largely comes from fees on individual sales, not from licenses to sell.

Many in Perryville likely voted in favor of sales at least in part because they believed it would help their town’s finances.

But the biggest chunk of alcohol revenue is off the table for cities as small as Perryville because state law doesn’t give them the right to implement fees directly on alcohol sales.

That’s because legislators only went halfway when they freed small cities with fewer than 3,000 people to legalize alcohol sales. Now it will take another bill during another general session to correct what should have been done right the first time.

Sen. Danny Carroll (R-Paducah) has pre-filed a bill for the 2017 general session that would give small cities and counties the ability to collect a percentage of alcohol sales.

Hopefully, Carroll’s bill can pass into law. Otherwise, cities like Perryville will be left with all the alcohol sales and almost none of the promised revenue.

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Strategic plan moving forward

Members of RKG and Associates have completed their initial analysis of Danville and Boyle County — an early step toward a strategic economic development plan for the area.

The strategic plan has been in the works for a while. Local officials first debated who would pay how much for it and whether it should be done at all. Then there was a process of selecting a company to work with. Now RKG is officially in the process of developing a road map that Danville and Boyle County can — in theory — use to guide their economic development in the coming years.

Economic development is always going to be bureaucratic, diplomatic and potentially politically charged. It’s easy to get bogged down in making plans for plans for plans and never actually do anything. So it’s good to see the process moving forward, not languishing in bureaucratic purgatory.

Supporters of creating a strategic plan believe it will elevate Danville and Boyle County above other areas, making it more likely to attract businesses. We’ll never know if they’re right until this process is complete and the final product is in our hands. Here’s hoping the rest of the planning process is speedy and we can move on to taking action.

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Groups taking water to Gatlinburg

Kudos to the groups of people from Boyle and Garrard counties — and any other area groups who flew under the radar — who coordinated taking water and other supplies to the Gatlinburg area last week, following the devastating forest fires that damaged or destroyed more than 1,600 structures, injured dozens of people and killed at least 14.

Many of us just go through our lives seeing news but never doing anything about it. When it’s on a TV screen, it’s easy to dismiss as someone else’s problem.

Fortunately, the people who helped with this effort realize they don’t have to sit on the sidelines and watch a tragedy play out — they can do something to help.

Hopefully, their attitude is contagious and more of us follow their lead in being active, not passive, when events call for it.