PRESTON – Preston City was a dry city until the last city council meeting held on April 22, when they voted to allow liquor by the drink.

“It’s been a big deal we talked about it the last three council meetings,” Mayor Dan Keller said. “Franklin County Attorney Vic Pearson told the county commissioners that Franklin County was not a dry county.”

In January the county issued its first liquor licenses.

Preston City was the last holdout. Until the last city council meeting there were only two dry cities in the state: Rexburg and Preston.

The city council was split on the vote whether they should keep the city dry or change it up to liquor by the drink.

“I was the tie breaker,” Keller said. “We had a 1947 record from researching newspapers that it was voted on, but the results were never certified by the state.”

Councilman Todd Thomas did some research asking people what they thought about the ordinance, and he said no one cared one way or the other. Councilman Terry Larson did the same informal survey asking people about the ordinance and reported the same results. The City Attorney Lyle Fuller also did his share of research.

“By our size we are allowed four liquor licenses and, so far, we have given out two. We will issue liquor licenses to the Owl and to Tattles,” Keller said. “This is really a messy situation. I was on the city council years ago when beer couldn’t be sold on Sunday the city has grown since then.”

The Owl Club was a beer-only bar, but they could never serve liquor until now. Tattles is a restaurant and bar on east Oneida. The county issued a liquor license to the Elks Lodge which is outside of the Preston City Limits.

Thomas said he would never set foot in the Owl for fear his mother would pull on his ear, but he said others should be able to have a drink if they want to.

“We are hoping this ordinance will bring in more business to Preston,” he said. “One of the big stumbling blocks to bring in a hotel was not being able to serve liquor.”

Those who voted for the ordinance hoping this change will bring in more business to the city. Tattles will be granted a liquor license; they can now serve mixed drinks with meals.

“I am friends with the people who run these establishments and I want them to be successful,” he said. “People will be able to buy liquor in a more controlled environment.”

One of the things Preston is pushing is for people to shop locally. With this change they hope more people will come to and stay in Preston.

All of the sales tax is sent to the state and the state sends back 11 percent, except for liquor sales tax. The state returns 90 percent off the liquor sales tax to the city.

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