The Loaf and Jug convenience store at 2401 W. Victory Way will lose its liquor license for 10 days after failing three consecutive alcohol sweeps conducted by the Craig Police Department. Store employees were cited for selling alcohol to minors each time.
The Craig City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend the store's off premises liquor license. The starting date of the suspension will be decided sometime today. An off premises liquor license is issued to stores that sell packaged liquor which will br consumed away from the property where it was purchased.
"I think that it is very important that we make an example that this is not going to be tolerated," Mayor David DeRose said. "Every other convenience store in town has passed this inspection for the last three years, so there is no reason that this particular store cannot comply as well."
The police sweeps are done periodically, and focus on all of the liquor and convenience stores throughout the city. High school students are often used to perform the sweeps. They attempt to purchase alcohol from the stores without presenting proper identification.
Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta was unable to attend Tuesday night's meeting, however, he did recommend that Loaf and Jug's license be suspended for seven days because of the businesses non-compliance.
The Council can only suspend a businesses' license for between seven and 14 days, although members also have the ability to levy fines against the establishment.
According to a memorandum released by Vanatta, Cindy Jones, the owner of the Loaf and Jug, has been "cooperative with efforts to educate the clerks to past violations, but it appears that the staff still does not take this responsibility seriously."
"I think that if Ms. Jones is continuing to make the effort to bring employees' attention to this situation, that should be taken into account as we consider this," DeRose said.
Jones, who didn't attend the meeting, was unavailable for comment Tuesday evening.
The Council could have suspending the store's license and impose fines at the same time.
According to City ordinance 5.14.010, "the fine accepted shall be the equivalent to 20 percent of the retail licensee's estimated gross revenues from sales of alcoholic beverages during the period of the proposed suspension; except that the fine shall be not less than $200 nor more than $5,000."
Council member Natalie Alden proposed increasing the penalty from what Vanatta recommended because of what she said was, "her personal knowledge of a minor who also purchased alcohol at the store."
The Police Department will run regular checks on the store during the suspension to ensure that it is complying with the suspension.
In other business, the Council:
Approved the renewal of a liquor license for Mathers' Bar, Inc. at 421 Yampa Ave.
Approved a sketch plan for Willow Creek Subdivision requested by Don Christensen.
Awarded the bid for the 2001 asphalt overlay project to Connell Resources for the amount of $165,551.95, which is slightly more than the city paid last year.
Awarded the bid for the 2001 concrete project, which includes curbs, sidewalks and gutters. Because of bonding requirements, the city has had difficulty attracting bidders on the curb and gutter work. APH Construction placed a bid on the project which was 10 percent lower than last year's price.
Approved Resolution No. 7, which authorizes the City of Craig to purchase real property from the Union Pacific Railroad Company.
Approved an improvements agreement from Casa De Chupita, which extends the amount of time needed to finish the upgrades.
The City Council also approved the vacation of a portion of a street at 9th and Breeze streets.
The land is a triangular parcel, approximately 75 feet by 15 feet, and was originally left in place to create a turning lane from 9th Street onto Breeze Street. However, that project was never completed, and the council elected to give up ownership of the land, as well as relieve themselves the responsibility for its upkeep.
The owners of the property to the north of the parcel can now claim the land for their use.