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Toland: Meet before renewing

By Staff | Jan 17, 2009

“At that point in time we would look at any problems we are having with those establishments.” — W’bago Police Chief, regarding a request to meet with the city’s liquor committee

Winnebago’s police chief wants to make sure members of the liquor committee — who seldom meet — gather at least once a year.

Bob Toland told the City Council on Tuesday he would like to meet with the committee before it comes time to renew licenses.

“At that point in time we would look at any problems we are having with those establishments,” says Toland.

Currently, a local bartender is being prosecuted for selling liquor to an intoxicated person.

Last month, the City Council approved licenses and fees charged to bar owners.

Toland suggested he meet with the liquor committee in November before he ‘signs off’ on any license.

Under a city ordinance, councilmembers can revoke, renew or suspend a license for not more than 60 days.

The following could be imposed if liquor laws have been broken:

• The first violation within any three-year period would bring at least one day suspension in addition to criminal or any civil penalties;

• second violation within any three-year period carries a suspension of at least three straight days and any criminal and civil penalties;

• third violation in a three-year period results in seven straight days of suspension plus other penalties;

• fourth violation the license is revoked.

Before any suspension can take place a hearing must be held before the council or an officer from the Office of Hearing Examiners.

Like Winnebago, a bartender has been charged with liquor sales to an intoxicated person while working at a Blue Earth bar.

City Administrator Kathy Bailey says the council has not acted on renewals yet.

She says citizens’ complaints, any information received from the State Liquor Association or problems police have dealt with are taken into consideration.

Bailey says she’s not aware of any checklist the City Council goes over before making its decision.

“They can rely on the recommendation of the police chief. But, it’s pretty rare a council decides not to renew a license,” says Bailey. “It’s a tough decision. You hate to put someone out of business.”

In other business:

• Mayor Randy Nowak was sworn in for another two-year term.

Rick Johnson and Chris Ziegler also took the oath of office for four years on the council and Bob Weerts will serve a two-year term.

• The council voted to eliminate the director’s position in the Public Works Department.

The three employees will be responsible for their respective division; street, water or sewer.

Job descriptions of the positions will be developed.

• The council approved purchasing water radio read meters and tops for $10,000.

• A cable television franchise agreement was approved for BEVCOMM. The company hopes to start providing service in Winnebago next month.

• The city’s administrative assistant will do some paperwork for the ambulance department to help reduce their budget by $1,500. An outside firm also will be hired to handle billing.