CAVE CITY — What started out as a complaint regarding publicly-intoxicated people quickly turned into a discussion about the need for all establishments operating in Cave City to purchase business licenses.
Councilman Larry Davidson reported during Monday night's city council meeting that he has had complaints about drunken people walking along city streets.
“They are coming out of The Dive so they tell me,” he said. “I believe this needs to be looked at a little bit.”
Leticia Cline, co-owner of The Dive, a bar in downtown Cave City, was present for the city council meeting and said police visit her business.
“They come in and do checks and no one drives home drunk,” she said.
She pointed out there are Uber drivers who can give people rides if they are unable to drive themselves.
On the Fourth of July, Cline said she contacted the police asking them to walk through her bar to make sure everyone “stayed OK.”
Davidson then questioned the responsibility of the city's alcoholic beverage control administrator, who is City Clerk Jennifer Freeman.
His question was answered by City Attorney Bobby Richardson, who said it is the police's responsibility to enforce laws regarding public intoxication, but if complaints are in regards to the operation of retail or wholesale businesses the responsibility falls to the ABC administrator.
Cline questioned the timing of the council discussion.
“I don't understand why there is a complaint now. That's what I would like to know,” she said. “It seems to me when something becomes successful in this town that brings in money and economic growth everyone has a problem with it if they don't have their hands in their pockets for it. I don't understand what the issue is now, especially since it is has been very public about how much we have done to make sure everything stays under control."
That's when Davidson explained he had a drunk man to show up at his house one afternoon. The man said he had just come from Cline's bar and that he was drunk.
“That's my complaint,” Davidson said.
Cline explained it was not her fault the man was publicly intoxicated.
Cave City Mayor Dwayne Hatcher interrupted and said the city has had very few complaints regarding the two bars in town.
“You're always going to have some complaints,” he said. “I do know that both of our establishments have tried, I do know for a fact, that they have tried to run that type of establishment the right way. I know for a fact that Leticia, Capt. (Darrell) Butler and myself, she came to us and asked if the police could come make visits there. I feel like good efforts have been made. Now, is everything perfect? I mean nothing is perfect, but I don't know of any other complaints.”
Councilwoman Beverly Ford asked for the creation of an ordinance prohibiting bars and liquor stores from opening near churches.
“I wasn't on the council when the liquor store came in. I was on the council when The Dive came in, but I thought it was going to be somewhere else,” she said. “Nevertheless, it doesn't matter. I'm just saying going forward can we have an ordinance that takes care of that?”
The mayor explained the locations of liquor stores and bars are determined by the state and not by the city.
“I was really surprised when we first got the liquor store(s) myself, but the state is who did that and not us and we can't control that,” he said.
Robert Smith, office manager at Cave City's city hall, said the state told city officials bars and liquor stores could not locate near daycares or schools.
It was at this point that discussion turned toward the need for all businesses operating within the city's limits to have business licenses.
Councilman John Grissom asked if Uber drivers are required to have business licenses.
“If they are operating here they have to get a business license,” Smith said.
Grissom then asked if food truck vendors were also required to have business licenses.
Cline does not serve food at her bar, but has been inviting food truck vendors to set up in front of her business.
The city has allowed food truck vendors to set up in front of her business for one weekend free to see it was going to be a viable option for them before paying $100 for a business license and $100 for the net profits tax.
Grissom is against food truck vendors being allowed to do business in Cave City without business licenses.
He continued that he's not opposed to food truck vendors and said he would like to see one area of town dedicated to that type of business.
“I think they are the grandest thing going,” he said. “But I'm not for them coming to town and working for free.”
Cline disagreed with Grissom and said she supports allowing the food truck vendors to set up once without having to purchase business licenses.
“If you want businesses to grow and be here, we have to be inviting and welcoming and give incentives and give things like that away,” she said.
But Grissom said the food truck vendors have been in town on more than one occasion recently.
“Everybody who comes into our town to do business should have to pay taxes like everybody else who is already established,” Grissom said. “That's all I'm getting at.”
Cline said she is 100 percent for business owners purchasing business licenses.
“I had to buy a license too,” she said. “I do appreciate the fact of giving them one time just to figure it out because I want them to come back to Cave City. I want them to want to be here and to tell people that this is the place where they should set up, which is what is starting to happen.”
The mayor suggested the city council's community development and safety committees discuss the issues and come up with suggestions to present at the next city council meeting.