Bar owners say later hours will bring in more tax dollars - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bar owners say later hours will bring in more tax dollars

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November 16, 2004

Albany- Bartenders at the Harvest Moon don't make their living off of Tuesday night tips.

They could be making more on Saturdays when places are packed, but the registers stop ringing at midnight.

"Next thing you know we have to run them out of our business," said Bo Henry, owner of the Harvest Moon. "We're losing revenue and tax dollars are being lost."

That could change if city commissioners give final approval to extending serving hours until 2 a.m. on Sunday. The city commission is expected to vote on the new ordinance next Tuesday night at their regular meeting.

"It will give us the opportunity to bring businesses and corporations in that we can cater to more so, entertainment wise that we haven't been able to have because of our laws," said Robert Hormilla, night and entertainment manager at Boxers Restaurant and Lounge.

But there is a catch.

Commissioners also recommended rolling back other nights to 3 a.m.

"You're gaining the two on Saturday, but losing five during the week for some businesses," Hormilla said.

"Extending them is great, but taking revenue away from places that do make money at that time, I hate to see them take money away from anybody," Henry said.

The current law is taking money away from Albany businesses on Saturday nights, because when midnight strikes, people go to Lee County. Drinks sell there until 3 a.m.

"On Saturday nights, places in Lee County are just thriving with business and Dougherty County is just shutting down early and people won't come," Henry said.

Though some critics may not like the plan, Albany bar owners say it's the way to keep tax dollars inside city limits.

posted at 10:47 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com