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Cheney council opposes state initiatives

Mayor: If they pass, loss of profits would hit city’s budget

The Cheney City Council Tuesday voted on two resolutions opposing Initiatives 1100 and 1105. The two state initiatives would eliminate state control of liquor sales and would allow for private businesses to sell and distribute it.

Mayor Tom Trulove said the council is one of the first municipalities in the state to vote on such a resolution, citing the loss of profits from liquor sales would greatly affect the city’s budget. The council unanimously approved the resolutions.

“We’re kind of leading the charge,” he said.

Trulove estimated those losses would be around $130,000 for the city.

“That’s two police officers,” he said.

He said passage would also eliminate the funding for state enforcement of the drinking age. The state often sends underage people into taverns and bars to check if staff is checking identification.

Trulove said with liquor more readily available, the city would have an increase in alcohol-related incidents, one of the biggest problems in the college town. But the loss of the funds would cut down on law enforcement staff.

“For a little convenience, it doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said.

Trulove said profits from liquor sales funds the Municipal Research and Service Center, which provides consulting, research and information to cities.

“We’ve (the state) always funded them though liquor profits,” Trulove said. “It’s just a really important resource for cities and counties.”

He said one councilmember asked if the city could make up the loss of the profits with sales tax, but Trulove said that at 8.5 percent, the city wouldn’t.