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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Music venue great, but no alcohol please

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Some local residents who attended the Rocky Mount Town Council meeting Monday night presented their opinions on whether alcohol should be served at the new music venue on Franklin Street. They said it is not appropriate to sell alcohol at the family-oriented events that will be held there, and they presented a petition with more than 800 signatures that backed up their stance.

We agree with that stance, and we join them in urging town council to back off the idea. We understand that the sale of alcohol could be a money-maker, but it's simply not worth the problems that often come with the uncontrolled consumption of alcohol, especially at an indoor venue. Events at the facility should indeed be family-oriented. People of all ages must feel comfortable to come and enjoy the shows without any unpleasant distractions that the consumption of alcohol can sometimes create.

No one should be criticized for suggesting the idea, since it is an issue that often accompanies planning for such a venue. The suggestion started the dialogue, and the residents have spoken. Town council members now can make a decision on the issue with a very clear message from constituents who cared enough to attend the meeting or sign the petition and let their voices be heard. That's the way the process should work.

Also at the meeting Monday, a $9.2 million proposed general fund budget for fiscal year 2013-14 was presented. The proposal includes no tax increases or fee hikes.

The proposed budget is an increase from the current year of about $3 million, but the bulk of that increase is from the money set aside in the general fund for the new music venue. That project (the renovation of the former Lynch Hardware store) will cost around $2.5 million, with about $1.5 million of that recouped through foundation grants and tax credits, town officials say.

We are also pleased to see in the budget that town employees would receive a 2.5-percent cost-of-living pay increase for 2013-14, and the restoration of the normal Christmas bonus program.

Overall, the town should be on solid financial footing, even with the music venue project, which has been in the works for several years.

As Town Manager James Ervin said, "This (the music venue) has been a goal of town council for over six years, and it is likely that the town will create an economy-changing world class venue for less than $1 million of citizen funds, after foundation grants and tax credits."s

 
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