Citizens turned out in force to voice their views regarding a proposed repeal of an alcohol ordinance passed by the Neosho City Council last November at a public hearing prior to the council meeting on Tuesday. According to Neosho City Manager Leland Butcher, no one, including local business representatives, spoke out against the current policy.
The proposal to harshen the repercussions for business owners and employees who sell alcohol to minors came after an alcohol compliance check last August had eight violations, instances in which alcohol was sold to a minor. At the time the bill was first proposed last fall, Neosho Chief of Police David Kennedy provided the numbers to demonstrate that the problem is ongoing.
"Over the past 24 months, we've had 4 stings. We have 25 liquor license holders and in those 4 stings, 19 failed. Five of those failed twice and one business failed three times." Kennedy stated.
At the city council meeting that followed the hearing, a proposal to revoke the ordinance passed last November was on the agenda. That ordinance stiffened penalties for liquor license holders and their employees in the event of violations.
A first offense would result in a written warning from the licensing clerk to the business, a second offense within a 30-month time frame would result in a 3-day suspension of the liquor license and a third offense within 18 months would result in a month long suspension of the license.
A clerical error has created additional issues along with the failure to hold a promised meeting with liquor license holders, law enforcement and the public.
On Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to keep the ordinance and not to repeal it.
At the next council meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, May 21 at the Neosho City Hall, council members will consider some possible amendments to the ordinance, primarily ways to lessen the potential of alcohol sales to under age minors.
One of the areas that will be considered will be methods to ensure 100% ID checks for alcohol purchasers of all ages with valid identification.
The Neosho City Council will revisit the issue at the next meeting on May 21, which will be held at 7 p.m. at the City Hall, located on the southeast corner of the Neosho Square. The public is invited to attend.