Corbin City Commission agrees to suspend local alcohol tax to help local restaurant, bar owners during coronavirus upheaval
At the request of a group of local restaurant owners who attended Monday night’s regular meeting, the Corbin City Commission agreed to suspend the local tax on the sale of alcoholic beverages, and refund any payments already made in March.
Josh Brock, owner of Austin City Saloon, initially asked the commission about the possibility of delaying future payments of the 3 percent tax as all restaurants and bars across the state were ordered to eliminate dine-in service on Monday in an effort to stop the potential spread of the coronavirus.
Mark Shepherd, co-owner of Shep’s Place, told the commission that with the restaurants no longer permitted to serve customers in-house for the foreseeable future, owners were just trying to survive.
“I just worry about us as a community,” Shepherd said noting that a number of the businesses that closed their doors would never reopen them.
Several of the restaurant owners noted that with the tax
revenue from alcohol and the restaurant taxes, they would be able to pay their employees.
“I worry most about my employees,” Shepherd said noting he was being forced to lay off about 90 percent of his staff at the two restaurants.
“It doesn’t sound like an unreasonable suggestion,” said Commissioner Trent Knuckles.
City Attorney Bob Hammons pointed out that while the commission could take action on the alcohol tax with a simple vote, it would be up to tourism to take action on the restaurant and hotel taxes and to suspend those as the proceeds from taxes go to fund tourism and The Arena.
Tourism Director Maggy Kriebel, who attended the meeting, said she would speak to her commissioners concerning the matter and would be working to schedule a special called meeting to vote on the request.
“I’m proud of you,” Shepherd told the commissioners following the vote.
City Manager Marlon Sams told the downtown restaurant owners that the city would be designating parking spaces in front of their businesses specifically for customers who are picking up orders in an effort to help their businesses.