Arab liquor store owner suing over tax vows money to schools

By Stephen McLamb- bio | email

ARAB, AL (WAFF) - Not everyone is happy with the way the city of Arab decided this week to distribute the liquor tax.

The schools will get 25% beginning October 1st. That's after the city takes all the money raised since last March.

Now one liquor store owner suing the city over that tax says he'll contribute that 25% if he wins.

"We were hoping that most of it would go to the school system," said Arab resident Justin Ehman. Ehman said he's disappointed in how the Arab City Council will divide up proceeds from it's liquor tax.

The council this week voted to keep 75% and give the schools 25%. But that doesn't start until October 1st.

An estimated $600,000 thousand would have already been raised before that and go to the city.

"We thought that was the wrong way to go. That we wanted the school system to get it from the very beginning," said Ehman.

Beverage Warehouse owner Jimmy Helms agrees. He said that's why he campaigned for Arab to go wet. "We wanted the schools to receive a large portion of that money," said Helms.

But Helms is in a lawsuit with the city over the 15% liquor tax.

He said his suit has nothing to do with taking money away from the schools.

Helms said if he wins, the schools won't be left out. "The portion, the 25% the school receives, I would not ask them to repay me. I would actually donate to the schools," said Helms.

Helms feels it was because of the Arab city schools that he and others supported going wet in the first place. "We're number three in the state of Alabama and I want to do my part to make sure that we keep that status," said Helms.

City officials have said they won't be releasing all of the money due to the lawsuit. It could be several more months before the suit is resolved.

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