Volume 106, Number 22 - May 29, 2009
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Proposed alcohol ordinance tabled
After a delegation of liquor-license holders voiced its opposition at the Pinedale Town Council meeting on Tuesday night, the council opted to table the alcohol ordinance until January of 2010.
At the last council meeting, Ordinance 449 passed its first reading, which would, among other things, require all employees of businesses that hold liquor licenses to take part in TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) training.
“We believe this ordinance is redundant and places an undue burden on our businesses, as it requires increased mandates and restrictions,” said Corral Bar owner Pat Bozner, reading a letter written on behalf of local businesses.
About five other owners and license-holders were also on hand to show their opposition to the ordinance.
Bozner went on to outline actions already being taken by those businesses to help curb alcohol-related problems in the area.
First is online TIPS training for all employees, starting in June, which provides those employees with three years of certification.
The second is the BARS program, which is a third-party company that performs compliance checks to bars.
The local businesses have also explored the option of electronic age-verification devices, which take the guess work out of ID checks.
The final action is a rewards program, which would provide employees with incentive to provide consistent enforcement of the businesses’ alcohol policies.
“What the proponent of this ordinance has done positively is bring awareness to the issue,” continued Bozner. “As liquor-license holders, we have already begun having meetings with each other…and we are diligently working together on the issues of concern.
“We recommend that this ordinance be tabled indefinitely.”
Sublette County Treatment Court coordinator Kathy Anderson, who was the primary proponent of the ordinance, commended the businesses for their actions.
“I love the idea of checking IDs electronically,” she said. “I love the idea that owners are talking to each other. This is fabulous, and this is what we’re looking for…I appreciate getting this conversation out in the open.”
For Anderson, cutting down both underage drinking and the number of DUI citations are her primary goals, thereby “providing the safest possible community…while not interfering with your livelihood.”
After hearing from the business owners, the council backed off the support it initially gave the ordinance, though members still voiced their concern for the issue.
“I understand the purpose of the ordinance is to try and keep kids from having booze,” said councilman Dave Smith. “But I think this ordinance is, quite frankly, redundant.”
“You (owners) explained what you’re already doing,” said councilman Dave Hohl. “And the fact that you’re already doing it is something I wasn’t aware of, and it’s pretty impressive.”
After hearing from the owners and the council members, Anderson used the opportunity to echo Bozner’s sentiments.
“I like something Pat said,” Anderson concluded. “And she wants it tabled and forgotten about. So I would propose that you table this until January of next year.”
“It sounds to me like everybody’s on the same page,” said Mayor Stephen Smith, who then supported tabling the ordinance.
By January of 2010, owners can bring the information and employee certifications to the council, verifying that they have been doing this work by their own volition.
With councilman Chris House absent, the remaining council members voted unanimously to table the ordinance until January, with Mayor Smith also casting a supporting vote.
— Resident Linda Baker approached the council, requesting that it look into the possible zoning change of Baker Petro Lite, located at 240 South Bridger Ave., where chemicals are currently being stored.
“I believe the use has changed from a commercial use to an industrial use,” said Baker.
Two years ago, the town council approved the acquisition and improvements made to the property by the current owners, which included about $120,000 in safety improvements to the building.
“That building is probably safer than any building in Pinedale,” said owner Gil Winters.
Members of the council were reluctant to reverse the decision made two years ago.
“As a (governing) body, the town established a position,” said Hohl.
The council reluctantly declined to support Baker’s request.
— The town engineering department was approved for $97,000 for chip sealing projects throughout town. The request was categorized as emergency repairs, so bidding out the project was not needed.
“These streets are in dire need,” said town engineer Eugene Ninnie.
The streets include Hoback, Bonneville, Stuart, Lewis, Colter, Ashley and Madison.
— The Recycling Center was approved for $7,500 in funding from the town’s 2009/2010 fiscal budget.
— The council went into executive session to discuss property acquisition, possible pending litigation and personnel issues related to the offer of employment.
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