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October 13, 2012

Hanceville council makes change in alcohol ordinance

HANCEVILLE — A 2-percent break on monthly liquor revenue fees didn’t last long for Hanceville businesses, following a vote Thursday by the Hanceville city council to amend its alcohol ordinance, taking away the small reward that the old law offered for on-time payments.

The move came after the council heard last month from a county sales tax revenue officer, who advised them the city was essentially throwing money away by providing the two-percent discount, since paying required municipal fees on time is required by law in the first place.

Even though there’s only one Hanceville business currently licensed to sell hard liquor (and, thus, the only one paying the 15 percent monthly fee), the on-time payment incentive had been leaving between $700 and $1,000 per month on the table for the city, according to Cullman County sales tax enforcement director Chris King.

The council also moved its fee payment deadline from the 15th of each month to the 20th, sharing the deadline with the county sales tax office, which collects both regular sales taxes and the city’s municipal liquor fee.

“Moving that date to the 20th accommodates the business owners, because they don't have to remember their taxes are due on two separate dates,” explained Hanceville city clerk Tania Wilcox.

“The way our collection is done, the county sales tax office intercepts the liquor tax from the business owner, and then they send us a check for that amount,” she added. “The tax office does keep one percent for the service as their handling fee, but the council feels that’s worth the small expense, since their office has the software and the capability of verifying people that we don’t have. The City of Cullman does theirs the same way.”

* Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at bbullard@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.

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