Saying liquor board duties are too taxing, County Council proposes separate entity


The Howard County Council drafted legislation yesterday to remove itself from direct regulation of bars and liquor stores.

For years, the council has discussed scrapping the current method of acting as the county Liquor Board.

The five council members make up the board, which holds monthly meetings to decide whether to grant liquor licenses.

But the five members think the board's duties take too much time, said Charles C. Feaga, council chairman. Under the proposal, each council member would appoint one member to the liquor board from his district.

Mr. Feaga sent the draft legislation yesterday to Del. Robert L. Flanagan, chairman of the Howard County delegation. State legislators must make changes in the liquor board's operation.

Del. Shane Pendergrass has proposed having the county executive appoint the liquor board. Ms. Pendergrass -- who served on the council until her election to delegate last year -- said yesterday that it makes sense to have the liquor board under the county executive because the county executive supervises county police.

"In seven of my eight years on the County Council, we asked our delegation to establish a liquor board separate from the County Council," she wrote in a letter to the council and to Howard County delegates.

But in the past, Mr. Feaga has lobbied to kill similar legislation. He says he supports the current council plan because it allows representation from all parts of the county.

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