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Editorial: ABC funds: Worth a closer look

Given that minding the public purse is a key responsibility for county commissioners, there’s nothing extraordinary about the board wanting an explanation for why local revenues generated by the Rowan-Kannapolis ABC system appear to be relatively lower than those for comparable counties.
It’s a reasonable request ó and one that the ABC board has said it will be happy to discuss in detail at a May 18 meeting. Providing that the alcohol authority gives a thorough review of its sales and revenues, commissioners should then have a better idea of whether it’s necessary to pursue an efficiency study of the local ABC operation. Currently, commissioners are divided on whether such a move is warranted. The more detailed the information they get, the more likely there will be some clarity and perhaps more unity on what should come next.
Obviously, one key thing here, for both the ABC board and county commissioners, is a transparent process that assures both accountability as well as sound accounting in the ABC operations. There’s no suggestion of any wrongdoing or profligate waste here, but as Commissioner Tina Hall pointed out, the county’s share of ABC revenues has dropped significantly in recent years. Hall also pointed out that the Rowan-Kannapolis ABC system appears to generate less local revenue than the ABC operations in comparable counties. That raises questions that merit further discussion and deeper examination. It may well be that the ABC board has ready explanations for the decline in local revenue distributions. The board and the public will be eager to hear them.
While those questions might arise at any time, it’s probably no coincidence that they’re getting more attention now as the county looks for ways to stretch its dollars and cut costs. While the ABC board is the particular entity coming under scrutiny in this instance, it’s not the only agency that might merit closer review ó and could perhaps benefit from greater efficiency.

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