By Richard Mundy
For Hometown News
Tired of seeing customers leave for Daytona Beach, restaurant owners in Ormond Beach want an end to the city's blue law that prohibits alcohol sales before noon on Sunday.
Commissioner Troy Kent introduced the concern Sept. 17 of some of his constituents who own restaurants as well calls from other citizens about the ordinance. He said a restaurant owner told him, "If he wants to do a Sunday brunch and wants to serve a mimosa or Bloody Mary, he is prohibited from it until after 12. But he's literally 150 feet from the Daytona Beach line, and he says ... people get up and head down to Daytona."
Mayor Ed Kelley said, "I've had similar concerns expressed and, in fact, people going to the Publix at the Trails with $100-200 worth of items ... and the ... cashier ... gets to the beer for going to the picnic ... and (the customers) walk out and leave it sitting there. If you look at all of the ordinances, every other community and surrounding cities, they don't have this. I personally believe this is part of what is left over from the Blue Laws of years ago."
Commissioner Ric Boehm said, "I happen to know the Publix manager at Ormond Town Center and he has expressed his frustration for the number of people from Ocala and the west coming to Ormond Beach and they come in on Sunday mornings ... and it hurts the business."
Commissioner Bill Partington added, "I haven't formulated a definite opinion one way or the other, but I'm happy to hear from the public. There's not a lot of injustices that we get the opportunity to 'fix' but denying someone a mimosa or a Bloody Mary ... is one to take a stab at if there's not too much public outcry," he said, tongue-in-cheek.
Commissioner Stowers affirmed, "I'm with the majority on this one."
He added if someone comes to buy and can't and then goes 150 feet to Daytona, "Where's the victory in that?"
The commissioners agreed to direct the City Manager to bring back to the board a proposed ordinance along the lines of neighboring municipalities.
The first two items of business on the commissioners' agenda were approval of the property tax rates for fiscal year 2013-14 and adopting the annual budget for the fiscal year.
"In 2000 my Ormond Beach taxes were $451. In 2013 they were $573. That's a total of $120 more over a 13-year period, which is less than $20 a year for the privilege and opportunity to live in Ormond Beach. I think it's a bargain." Mayor Kelley said. "It's estimated that a person living in Ormond Beach with a $150,000 taxable-value property with a $50,000 homestead exemption, your taxes may go up $10."
Mayor Kelley said through the many meetings and hearings, the people who spoke, no one wanted any service levels cut.
The total tax increase amounts to just over 4 percent over the rolled-back rate, which includes increases to cover interest for the city's 2002, 2003 and 2010 general obligation bonds. The tax increase ordinance was passed on a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Stowers the lone nay. The city budget passed by the same vote.
In other business, the commission decided to allow a tattoo parlor, or sorts, on Nova Road despite it not complying with city zoning.
Diane Morgan, operator of a permanent cosmetics shop at 175 S. Nova Road, said, "I do mostly medical reconstruction, for instance eye brows of burn victims or modification of cleft palettes."
Mastectomy patients also benefit from her services, she said.
Her work is limited in the ordinance to specific repairs such as scar repairs, replacement of lost pigment, birth defects and evening out skin tone in burn patients.
The board unanimously approved the amendment.
Also, the commission finalized an annexation agreement dating back to 2004, allowing the 167 acres of Chelsea Place to become part of the city.
Planning Director Ric Goss explained the agreement to annex this area expires in February 2014. There are about 250 lots and 87 homes in the subdivision.
Commissioner Ric Boehm spoke in favor of the ordinance stating, "We're making things right by (annexing this area)."
Mayor Kelley added that the city is filling in some of the areas that should be in the city. What some people may not realize, he added, "is that they're coming into the city and their taxes will be lower than by staying in the county."
Commissioner Troy Kent said, "I have a friend that lives in Chelsea Place and ... he said, 'now I get to pay the city rates for my kid to participate in sports in Ormond Beach,' as opposed to the (higher) 'out of city' rates that I've been paying."