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Two dozen ABC boards lost money in 2010 fiscal year

Twenty-four of the 163 local Alcoholic Beverage Control boards statewide lost money in the fiscal year that ended in June, according to audits released Wednesday.

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ABC store sign, Alcoholic Beverage Control
RALEIGH, N.C. — Twenty-four of the 163 local Alcoholic Beverage Control boards statewide lost money in the fiscal year that ended in June, according to audits released Wednesday.

The results come as reforms passed by state lawmakers take effect for the ABC boards. The reforms include requiring all board members to receive budgeting and ethics training through a North Carolina community college.

The reforms were prompted by ethics scandals involving ABC employees who drew excessive salaries and board members who accepted gifts from liquor distributors.

The ABC boards that operated in the red included those in Angier, Garland, Kenansville, Maxton, Northampton County, Roseboro and Rowland.

Losing money on operations means the local boards cannot distribute money to local governments, law enforcement agencies and alcohol education programs.

The Wake County ABC Board is among the most profitable statewide, boasting a 15.6 percent profit margin. The Durham County ABC Board has a 6.1 percent profit margin, while the Orange County ABC Board's margin is 5.6 percent.

Statewide, liquor sales were up 1.4 percent in the 2010 fiscal year, to $726.7 million. Expenses for the state-run system rose by 3.2 percent during the year, however.

State ABC Commission Chairman Jon Williams said the sluggish economy has affected liquor sales, as consumers switch to cheaper brands or buy beer instead of liquor.

A year ago, only nine local ABC boards operated at a loss.

The state commission will work with the money-losing ABC boards to try different business strategies, Williams said. Continued losses could result in the state merging the operations into more profitable ones, he said.

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Renee Chou, Reporter
Matthew Burns, Web Editor

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