Council denies Kum & Go retail liquor licenses


Other action

At its Tuesday meeting, the Craig City Council:

• Discussed raising solid waste rates to match increasing fees at the Moffat County Landfill, which raised rates by $5 a ton in April. The Solid Waste Department has lost money every month since April.

A proposal from city staff would increase monthly fees for residential trash collection by $3, as well as raise fees for dumpsters and temporary construction dumpsters to prevent further losses.

• Awarded a $90,940 bid from American Transportation and Equipment Co. for a front-load truck body for the Solid Waste Department. American Transportation submitted the low bid, however it was $20,816 over budget.

• Approved an ordinance amending the Craig Municipal Code regarding reduction of assessed license points for traffic violations.

After a "timely" payment, normally 2- or 3-point tickets would become 1-point tickets. The amendment does not apply to persons under age 18, who still are required to appear in front of a municipal judge.

The Craig City Council rejected applications to renew 3.2 percent beer retail liquor licenses for Craig's three Kum & Go stores.

Liquor license questions are commonly put on the Council's consent agenda, and councilors normally defer to the Craig Police Department's determination whether there is cause for denying a license.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Council decided applications from Kum & Go deserved more discussion because of a history of selling alcohol to minors.

The motion was made notwithstanding the Police Department's findings that there was no cause for denial because the stores served out punishments for prior offenses.

"I just think this should be more than just an exercise, given this particular outfit has been one of our chronic offenders," Councilor Terry Carwile said.

Other members agreed.

Councilor Byron Willems said the issue was more than a "rubber stamp."

According to city records, both the east and west Kum & Go's have been cited for selling alcohol to minors three times within a year. The Craig Police Department last issued citations to each one after a May 3 liquor license compliance check.

For compliance checks, the Police Department hires a minor to attempt to purchase alcohol. The minor does not use a fake driver's license to hide his or her age.

The city suspended liquor licenses for both Kum & Go stores after the May citations.

The west Kum & Go served a 20-day suspension, but the east store was given a 30-day suspension because no store representatives appeared at the June 17 Council meeting.

A no-show by store representatives again played a role in the Council's decision Tuesday.

No one representing Kum & Go appeared, a fact that did not escape Council members.

Councilor Bill Johnston expressed concern, and in the end, that concern was part of why Johnston voted against the renewal, along with councilors Willems, Joe Herod and Gene Bilodeau.

Mayor Don Jones and councilors Carwile and Ray Beck voted to approve the applications but lost to the majority.

Liquor licenses for each Kum & Go store expire Jan. 4, 2009.

Council members do not intend to close the book on the issue. Bilodeau said he would like city staff to contact the Kum & Go stores to make sure a representative appears at a future Council meeting.

That way, store officials can tell the Council what steps they have taken to ensure their employees do not sell alcohol to minors.


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