By KENDRA PEEK
11:21 AM EST, December 12, 2012
LANCASTER — Starting Jan. 1, alcohol can be bought in Lancaster until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays, after the City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday extending the times.
The ordinance initially stopped Sunday sales at 10 p.m., as suggested by Councilman Brett Baierlein in the original draft of the ordinance.
“If you go to a football game, they stop selling in the third quarter now, so I think we should, too,” he said, which was met with laughter.
Councilman Brandon McGlone encouraged council members to consider extending the Sunday hours to 11 p.m. and every other day to 2 a.m. Currently, Monday through Thursday sales stop at 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday sales stop at midnight, with New Year’s Eve sales extended until 2 a.m.
Other members doubted restaurants would be willing to stay open that late, which McGlone said could be true, but this way they would have the option.
“With the new bypass coming through, we can say, ‘Hey, you have the same opportunity here as you do in Danville,’” he said.
“Through the week, I don’t know that it’ll help that much,” Councilman Jesse Wagoner said. He asked if the extended times could be put on Fridays and Saturdays instead of weekdays.
“This would keep it consistent,” Councilwoman Maggie Mick said of the change.
Police Chief Rodney Kidd said it won’t make a difference to police, no matter how late the hours are extended. However, he felt it could benefit the city to offer something rivaling that of other cities.
The ordinance passed with the addition of times, per McGlone’s suggestion.
This institutes a 1 percent increase in the tax on alcohol sales, raising packaged malt beverages from 1.25 percent to 2.25 percent; packaged distilled spirits and wine from 2.25 percent to 3.25 percent; and alcoholic beverages by the drink from 3.25 percent to 4.25 percent.
According to Baierlein, the amounts still keep the city a percent lower than neighboring Danville.
He also mentioned the 5 percent flat rate that is charged to those who fail to have software that tracks alcohol sales separately from other sales. This rate has been part of the ordinance since it was first implemented; however, it has not always been enforced in the past. Businesses have 90 days from Tuesday night to comply and avoid fines.
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