Battle brewing over Sunday sales in Owen

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Owner says winery needs expanded sales to survive Opponents say another day will trigger problems


Landmark News Service

Curtis Sigretto, the owner of Kentucky’s largest winery, said his business could be in jeopardy if a move for Sunday sales fails to gain support from the Owen County Fiscal Court. Representatives from Elk Creek Winery were expected to go before the fiscal court Tuesday to ask its members to consider adopting an ordinance that would allow the winery to be open on Sundays.

State lawmakers approved legislation earlier this year that allows the local fiscal court to adopt an ordinance giving wineries permission to open their tasting rooms and sell alcohol after 1 p.m. on Sundays.

The law went into effect July 15. Third-district magistrate Teresa Davis, whose district includes the Lusby’s Mill precinct, said she asked representatives from the winery to gather positive responses to Sunday sales from over half of the precinct’s registered voters before she would introduce an ordinance. Representatives from the winery gathered positive responses from 55 percent of the precincts registered voters.

If an ordinance were adopted by the fiscal court, Sigretto said the winery’s revenue would likely see a 30 percent increase during the first year, as well as a 40 percent lodging increase.

Even though school starts Aug. 12, crews will still be working throughout the first month helping teachers get their rooms set up to their liking, he said.

“It just takes time,” Black said.

The situation is very similar in Carroll County Schools, where Dwayne Smith and his four-man maintenance crew have been working to put new playground equipment in at Cartmell Elementary and to remodel all of the restrooms at Carroll County Middle School.

Smith said his crew works on large projects until about two weeks before the start of school, when maintenance will try to finish the projects and work on other maintenance issues that teachers will report.

“They find things that they need,” Smith said.

Maintenance crews in Carroll County are also responsible for maintaining the ball fields, including fertilizing them, applying rodent control, sprinkler maintenance and mowing them once or twice per week.

“It [Maintenance] could be as simple as delivering paper or using heavy equipment,” Smith said.

He said smaller projects could be done throughout the school year, such as when crews replaced the lighting in the gymnasium last year at the Carroll County High School.

“One day we might have two guys, other days might have four guys,” Smith said.

In addition to Smith and the four maintenance personnel, a painting crew is responsible for all the repainting needed throughout the district. Smith said every year, any paint that is exposed to the elements outside gets a fresh coat before the year begins.

“It keeps five to eight people busy all summer long painting,” Smith said.

The maintenance staff for Carroll County Schools is responsible for all the repair issues that aren’t contracted out to other companies. Smith talked about where he relocated an old modular building from behind the high school, had to run the electric and make sure it was certified as safe, place the tie downs, build new ramps, decks and sets of steps.

He said the typical time it takes for a work order about a maintenance issue to go through is 24 hours. By then, he said it’s already fixed or somebody is working toward a solution.

Even though there are projects and work orders requested throughout the year, Smith said it’s all about student safety.

“Creating a comfortable and safe environment is No. 1,” Smith said. “Making sure students and faculty have what they need. That’s priorities.”