Repeal of Public Consumption Exception for Special Events in Carthage Passes First Reading

June 16, 2021

The proposed ordinance to change the Carthage Municipal Code to make it unlawful for the sale, consumption, or possession of an open container of alcohol on public property in the Town of Carthage was discussed during the council’s regularly scheduled meeting on June 10, 2021. The ordinance would remove the exception for special events approved by the Town of Carthage to sell/serve alcohol and be consumed by event patrons on public property. You may view the full ordinance here.

The residents of Carthage passed two referendums in November 2016, allowing both liquor by the drink and packaged liquor to be sold within the municipal limits.

Outside of the meeting, a group of individuals gathered in front of the Chamber of Commerce to support the ordinance holding signs and using a megaphone to express their views. Their voices were heard from inside the building at times while the meeting was ongoing.

Multiple individuals spoke on the topic during the meeting, including numerous people supporting or opposing the amendment’s passage during the Citizen’s Concern portion. Multiple residents stated their belief that the River City Ball would be adversely affected by the ordinance’s passage.

Councilman Jesse Peters made a motion to approve the ordinance when the item was reached on the agenda. Councilwoman Barbara Kannapel seconded the motion.

After some discussion, Councilman Sam Petty motioned to amend the ordinance to “grandfather the River City Ball under the old ordinance…to allow the event to continue under existing rules.” Councilman Cole Ebel seconded the amendment. The amendment failed by a 2-4 vote, with Councilmembers Cole Ebel and Sam Petty voting in favor. Council members Jesse Peters, Barbara Kannapel, Bill Reece, and Steve Babcock voted against the amendment.

After further discussion, the motion was brought to a vote. The ordinance passed its first reading by a vote of 4-2. Council members Jesse Peters, Barbara Kannapel, Bill Reece, and Steve Babcock voted to approve the motion. Council members Cole Ebel and Sam Petty voted against the motion.

All ordinances require two readings before being enacted, so it will be brought forward for a required second reading during the council’s next meeting.

Also of note, the River City Ball requested to have their special event permit request withdrawn after the passing of the first reading of this ordinance. The River City Ball is also required to abide by the State of Tennessee’s Liquor by the Drink Special Occasion permit process.

You may watch the full meeting below:

Thanks to Smith County Animal Clinic, Carthage Family Chiropractic, and The Kirby Team of Blackwell Realty for sponsoring Smith County Insider’s live broadcast of this meeting.

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The Carthage City Council meets at 6:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at Carthage City Hall, located at 314 Spring Street in Carthage, Tennessee – 37030.

All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at