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Alcohol sales fund fireworks show

By: Rebekah Pewitt Email
By: Rebekah Pewitt Email

WHITESBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - It wouldn't be a 4th of July celebration without fireworks, and the city of Whitesburg is ready for Independence Day. Yet, this fireworks show is using money from what some say is controversial source.

American flags line the Whitesburg River Park for the city's Independence Day celebration, a show that officials say wouldn't be possible without the city's alcohol sales.

“It has done tremendously well. In these tough economic times, it has been a god send,” said Whitesburg Mayor, James Wiley Craft.

The mayor says the city made $125,000 in alcohol sales tax last year. They say businesses have sold liquor by the drink since 2007 and by the case in April.

Whether in a case or in a glass. the mayor says alcohol sales have provided the city with purchases that they wouldn't have been able to make before.

“We've used a lot of the money to support our policemen. We've been able to purchase some new cruisers and new radios for them,” said Craft.

He says they've also added live entertainment and tripled the amounts of fireworks for the Independence Day event.

It is something summit city restaurant and bar owner Amelia Kirby says she is glad to see.

“There's such a completely direct relationship because we see the money go into the coffers, and then we see the money get used for stuff that's great for the town," said Kirby. "So it seems like a win-win in a lot of ways."

And it will be an even bigger win for this year’s 4th of July.

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