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Funds approved for construction

Published 9:54am Monday, September 10, 2012

WINTON – The Hertford County ABC Board can now move forward with having a new store built in Ahoskie.

At their Tuesday meeting, the county’s Board of Commissioners voted to allow the ABC Board to set aside $280,000 in their working capital for the construction project. That decision does however mean that the annual distribution of ABC profits to the county and each municipality in the county, as required by state law, will not experience an anticipated increase for FY 2012-13.

Ahoskie CPA Jon Edwards, the new Finance Officer for the Hertford County ABC Board, made a formal request before the commissioners for a change in distribution formula.

Edwards explained to the commissioners that the ABC Board is required to distribute the profits from each year to the county and each local municipality as well as to alcohol education. He said there is a standard formula used to determine the amounts to be distributed.

He said $59,994 is the minimum payable under this formula. He reminded the board that these are unaudited numbers, but felt comfortable in the fact that they are close to what the audited amount will look like.

As far as the working capital of the county’s ABC Board, Edwards said that leads to a maximum amount that can be distributed. Based on that formula, the distribution for the county and towns is $76,078.

“The state changed the formula as of last year,” Edwards noted. “They have changed the multiplier from four to three since the sales for Hertford County ABC slightly exceeded $1.5 million during the last fiscal year,” Edwards said. “What that does is it creates the maximum working capital of $389,955 vs. $519,000 under the old formula.”

That also changes the distributions to the county and towns to $182,025….a significant increase over last year.

Edwards said it has been the ABC Board’s intention to use the working capital to finance the construction of a new ABC store in Ahoskie.

“What we need from you is a vote to allow us to put in a restrictive fund the money needed to help construct that new building,” Edwards said, adding that $280,000 has been budgeted for that project.

“We’re not changing the formula, that’s set by state law, we’re just asking to have the funds set aside for the construction of the new store,” Edwards added. “It will result in distributions reduced (to $60,000) for this year alone so the ABC Board will not have to go out and borrow the money to build the new store.”

After consulting in closed session with County Attorney Chuck Revelle, the commissioners, after returning to open session, approved a motion, pursuant to NCGS 18B 805 (d), setting aside $280,000 for capital improvements to the Ahoskie store.

Even though the ABC Board is a separate entity from local county government, the commissioners, by way of their authority to appoint ABC Board members, does have to approve that board setting aside working capital.

In June, Clarence Jordan, General Manager of the Hertford County ABC Board, officially made the announcement that his organization had decided to move forward with replacing the 40-plus year-old ABC store in Ahoskie.

Jordan said it was the board’s intention to build the new store at the current location of the existing store, located on Memorial Drive near Newmarket Shopping Center.

The new store, according to Jordan, will be approximately 2,000 square feet of floor and service space, an increase of 400 square feet over the current location. Like the current store, the new building will be attached to an existing warehouse that stores alcoholic products for the Ahoskie store as well as the Murfreesboro and Winton ABC facilities.

“The Ahoskie store will have more space and more inventory,” Jordan stressed.

Jordan said he feels the new store, with the added retail space, will boost sales.

During the construction of the new store, sales will continue at the Ahoskie location by utilizing the warehouse space. Jordan said the temporary sales location in the warehouse will be across the counter, not the current self-service setup as found in the Ahoskie store.

Once construction does begin, Jordan said he hopes to open the new store within a 10-month period.

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