County approves ABC merger

Catawba County moved one step closer Friday to operating an ABC store in the town of Taylorsville and securing a slight increase in alcohol-sales revenue.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a motion for the county's ABC board to absorb and manage Taylorsville's only ABC store. The move now awaits approval by the Taylorsville Town Council, the Catawba County ABC Board and the state.

A merger would result in annual savings for the Taylorsville ABC Board and create a better product selection at its store in Alexander County, said Ray Abernathy, general manager of Catawba County ABC stores.

Catawba County would also begin receiving about $4,500 from the Taylorsville store's sales as a fee for managing its operation, Abernathy said.

Abernathy said Taylorsville's ABC store now receives one product shipment a month. Under Catawba County control, the store is expected to receive two trucks of product each week.

Abernathy said better selection means better sales.

"It's a win-win in this situation for Catawba County and Taylorsville," Abernathy told county commissioners Friday. "This will be the first ABC board absorption of this kind in the state. I hope this will be a good template that can be used across the state."

Commissioner Barbara Beatty said Abernathy has spent several years working on the merger plan.

Abernathy said sales have already improved since he took over managing the Taylorsville store in June after a previous manager was fired. He said he hopes to have a new manager in the store in the next few weeks.

Budget award
For the 23rd straight year, Catawba County's budget office was recognized for producing an easy-to-understand budget document.

The county office received the 2011 Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for its 2011-12 fiscal year budget.

"Catawba County was one of the first in the state of North Carolina to apply for and receive this award 23 years ago," said Jennifer Mace, the county's budget manager. "Although receiving this award is not new for us, it's not something we take for granted."

The county was one of 1,250 award recipients nationwide this year.