The mayor of Fruithurst, Chris Owens, attended the Cleburne County Commission meeting Monday night to voice his concerns over a recent vote by the commission to allow alcohol sales at the Fruithurst General Store.
When the commission voted earlier this month to allow alcohol sales at the store it was assumed, commissioners said, that the town of Fruithurst knew about the vote. It did not.
According to County Commissioner Laura Cobb the ABC board sent the ordinance to the County Commission to be voted on because Fruithurst has no police department to enforce alcohol regulations, but the county does. The board cannot send the ordinance to any governmental unit that doesn’t have a police force.
“I assumed the city already knew about it when it came to us, I apologize, it was a misunderstanding,” Cobb said.
County Commission Chairman Ryan Robertson publicly apologized to Owens.
“As chairman it was my fault,” Robertson said.
“In the future they want us to make sure that anything like this comes up that we inform them, out of respect,” Robertson added.
Owens was concerned that he and Fruithurst’s town council were being left out of the loop.
“All we’ve asked is when something comes before Fruithurst that we’re notified,” Owens said.
An ordinance on the books in Fruithurst states any establishment selling alcohol can’t be within 1000 feet of a church, school, child care facility, senior citizen center or parks and recreation center, according to Owens. He said there’s a school and a church within 1000 feet of the store, thus the ordinance would be violated if alcohol were sold at the store.
Owens plans to take up his fight with the ABC board.
The commission also tabled indefinitely the contract negotiations with current County Administrator Steve Swafford who will remain on the job and fulfill his original contract which ends December 2018.
County residents will also see an increase of a dollar per month in their garbage bill according to Swafford.
This will cover administrative costs with the solid waste program that the successful vendor will collect for the county commission, according to Swafford.