The somewhat controversial passage during the November general election of a referendum allowing the sale of wine in retail food stores had the Tazewell Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) scrambling to update the city codes.
In December, the board adopted on first reading Ordinance 309, amending certain passages within Title 8 relating to alcoholic beverages. Last week, the council officially adopted on second and final reading the ordinance, directly following a public hearing during which there was no response.
The ordinance follows the new definitions set by Tennessee Codes Annotated §57-5-101 in reference to the alcoholic content of beer and areas permissible for wine sales.
In 2015, the state changed the definition of beer from a maximum 5 percent to 8 percent volume. Ordinance 309 now reflects this change.
The ordinance also creates a passage setting an inspection fee for those licensing wine sales in their retail grocery stores. According to the ordinance passage, there will be an eight percent inspection fee levied on the wholesale price of alcoholic beverages supplied by a wholesaler to a retail food store wine licensee.
It appears local media could be handled a bit differently during investigations of automobile accidents in which alcohol or drugs might have been a contributing factor. The council unanimously approved a revision in the police policies regarding the handling of media in these situations.
“It is the policy of the Tazewell Police Department that members shall not publicly disclose that alcohol and/or drugs were a definitive contributing factor to a motor vehicle crash unless the results of official testing (breath alcohol test, blood alcohol test, field sobriety tasks) confirm that alcohol and/or drugs were indeed contributing factors. Members of the department may publicly disclose that alcohol and/or drugs were found at the scene of the crash, whether the driver admitted to the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs, and/or whether witnesses disclose that a driver had been drinking prior to a crash.
“In such matters, a representative of the department should publicly state that toxicology testing will be conducted to determine whether alcohol and/or drugs were contributing factors to the crash,” reads the new procedures added to chapter 12 of the police policy handbook.
The addition includes procedures to follow once it is confirmed that alcohol or drugs were involved.
“…members of the department shall make a good faith effort to notify the drivers involved, or in the case of a fatality crash, the immediate family members of those involved, prior to public disclosure through verbal means or through public court documents (arrest warrant, search warrants),” concludes the addition to the police procedures.
The new policies were fashioned after similar ones adopted on July 1 of last year by the Tennessee General Assembly.
In other action, the BMA approved the purchase from AutoZone of an 80 gallon, 7.5 HP (horsepower) air compressor, at a cost of $2,599.99. Serious problems with the existing compressor prompted maintenance department representative Joe Wolfenbarger to request the upgrade.
Wolfenbarger said that AutoZone will “sweeten” the deal by “throwing in” a starter kit, valued at $134, along with ‘other perks.’
In other business, the board unanimously reappointed Betsy Shoffner to another term as vice-mayor. City recorder Diane Widner was reappointed to the post of town administrator.
Reach Jan Runions at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @scribeCP.