However, two council members on the ad hoc committee, George Leventhal and Marc Elrich, scaled back talks about full privatization, pointing out that the DLC’s estimated $30 million in annual profits is spent on other county priorities. The loss of that revenue would be noticeable, especially because the county is facing the possibility of a property tax hike in order to raise enough funds to pass the fiscal year 2017 budget. … The department also employs more than 300 union employees who work in the retail stores and wholesale operations. UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) Local 1994 MCGEO President Gino Renne has said the employees will lose their jobs and benefits if the department is privatized.
On Loosening Some Alcohol Sales Rules, Montgomery County Makes It Official
Source: Matt Bush, WAMU, July 29, 2015
For the first time since Prohibition ended in the U.S. more than 80 years ago, Maryland’s Montgomery County – which owns all the liquor stores within its borders — is taking steps to privatize the sale of alcohol. The county Council is formally asking the Maryland General Assembly to allow bars and restaurants to “special order” beer and wine from private stores. They now must buy it from county-owned stores or through the Department of Liquor Control….Montgomery County is one of the few local governments in the U.S. with complete control over its liquor stores. Many bars and restaurants have long complained the county does not offer a broad enough selection of wine and beer to fit customer demand. …
Council Agrees On Partial Privatization of Liquor Control, But Some Want More
Source: Aaron Kraut, Bethesda Magazine, July 28, 2015
The Montgomery County Council Tuesday approved a resolution that could lead to partial-privatization of the county’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC), especially when it comes to the distribution of specialty craft beer and fine wines. … “For nine years I have asked myself why our County is the only county in the country to have a monopoly in the liquor business,” Berliner said in a prepared statement. “The answer, it seems, is simple: revenue and county employee jobs. I don’t find that answer satisfying… Council member Marc Elrich, a member of the committee, again said the DLC can make common-sense changes to improve its delivery services that will allow the county to continue collecting close to $30 million annually that goes into the county’s general fund. But Berliner said the revenue and county jobs don’t justify keeping the department open….