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Just say no, again!

Among the items listed on their scheduled 6 p.m. meeting on Monday, March 20, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners will once again engage in discussion over whether or not to allow alcoholic beverages to be served at private functions of those renting the county-owned Cultural and Wellness Center, located on the outskirts of Jackson.

This issue was previously discussed by the board in January of 2008. It was decided at that time not to allow alcohol at the Center.

We’re hoping the same decision will be reached at this coming Monday’s meeting.

While we’re not “teetotalers” here, we do feel that a building that was constructed and currently staffed and maintained through the use of taxpayer dollars is not the place where alcoholic beverages should be served.

Yes, we are aware that the Cultural and Wellness Center is rented/leased for private functions. That’s all good, but the county needs to stick with its current policy that prohibits those renting the facility for private gatherings to serve alcohol.

Notwithstanding is the wellness issue, one that doesn’t go hand-in-hand with alcohol consumption.

As the Northampton County Board of Commissioners plan to once again debate this issue on Monday, we encourage them to keep one thing in mind….the Cultural and Wellness Center was not built as a country club. And they need not forget who foots the bill for that beautiful facility….the taxpayers.

Nearly 10 years ago when this notion was first kicked around, two commissioners, Fannie Green and Virginia Spruill, asked why alcohol could not be permitted at the Center. In all fairness, neither was talking about a year-round open bar. Rather, they were concerned if prohibiting the use of alcohol would prove as a deterrent when renting the facility for wedding receptions, class reunions, fraternity/sorority functions and the like.

However, we believe it’s detrimental to the character of the good people of Northampton County to allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages at a public facility. The use of alcohol is currently prohibited in other county-owned and operated facilities. We have yet to see a bottle of wine uncorked or a mixed drink served in a school gymnasium, a courtroom or DSS meeting room.

As part of that previous discussion, it was noted if alcohol was permitted at the Center during a private function, a Northampton deputy and Center staff member would be required to be on the premises. If that’s the case again with next week’s discussion, we need to ask how those county workers will be paid to be on site? Is that a fee the person renting the Center absorbs, or will it be on the taxpayer’s dime?

Our suggestion is if someone is seeking all the amenities of a country club, then join one or rent those facilities for your pleasure.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald