Montgomery County Councimembers Tom Hucker and George Leventhal have objected vehemently to the Department of Liquor Control’s 10% price hike on special order wines. Both have been staunch defenders of the County’s liquor monopoly and amazed that the DLC is taking exactly the opposite approach advocated by the County earlier this year.
Here is George Leventhal’s email to DLC Acting Director Fariba Kassiri:
Dear Fariba,Last year, the County Council unanimously recommended that special order beer and wine sales should be handled by the private sector. County Executive Leggett initially agreed to this recommendation, but then changed his mind and our state legislative delegation deferred to his wishes, so no change occurred to beer and wine sales in Montgomery County. Now, according to your message below, the county has decided that because special order beer and wine sales cost DLC substantially more to process, DLC will impose a substantial price hike on licensees for these products. This decision was made without informing the County Council ahead of time and without the benefit of any advice from a Task Force on Liquor Sales, which Mr. Leggett promised to appoint but has yet to appoint.Once again, DLC is acting in a manner that is adverse to the interests of the county’s restaurants and retail sector. I am disappointed in this decision and even more disappointed by the failure of the executive branch to take this issue seriously. The County Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Liquor Control delved into the issue and came up with a compromise last year that would have preserved significant revenue to the county while freeing restaurants and retailers from the most onerous challenges of working with the county-controlled system. I am done apologizing for the failure of the executive branch to handle liquor sales responsively and efficiently. The responsibility for this failure rests squarely with Mr. Leggett.With great concern,George LeventhalMontgomery County Councilmember
Councilmember Tom Hucker issued a press release and also posted this on his Facebook page: