May 5, 2018

City Council backs off liquor sanctions


By Jerry W. Kram
The New Town City Council backed off the stiff penalties against bars and liquor stores that sell alcohol to minors that it passed earlier this year.
The Council voted in February to suspend an establishment’s liquor license for a week if they are caught selling liquor to minors. Subsequent violations would have been punished with 15 day and 30 suspensions. During the last week of May, the New Town Police Department conducted a compliance check on seven establishments in New Town. Three, Corner Liquor, Jason’s Superfoods and the Edgewater Country Club were found to be in violation of the ordinance.
City Attorney Bill Woods said two of the three employees who violated the ordinance pleaded guilty while the third is contesting the charge. However, he said the city council needed to vote to temporarily suspend the licenses, which it did at the regular council meeting on May 16.
At the request of some of the establishment owners, the council convened a special meeting on May 21 to reconsider the severity of the punishments. Corner Liquor owner Cory Smith said closing for a week would cost him $20,000, and deprive his three employees of a week’s wages.
“It seems the penalty a little harsh to shut me down for a week for what my employee did,” Smith said. “I would agree with paying a fine, because something has to be done. I preach to my employees every day, 110%, if you don’t know them, card them. A bunch of us went to Seattle once, and they carded my 80 year old dad.”

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