Council delays vote on liqour
Tonganoxie Sunday liquor sales could be up for grabs.
Members of the city council tabled a decision Monday night whether to adopt a resolution that would exempt Tonganoxie from state laws that prohibit Sunday liquor sales.
The decision to table the issue until the Sept. 8 meeting came after councilman Emmett Wetta withdrew his motion for adoption of the resolution. That motion had been seconded by Ron Cranor.
City attorney Mike Crow said the resolution would pertain to liquor stores only and would not address sales of beer in grocery and convenience stores.
"Now it's up to the council to determine two things," Crow said Tuesday morning in a telephone interview. "One, do they want to allow liquor sales by liquor stores on Sundays? And two, if so, with what restrictions? That's really the issue."
If the required two-thirds of the governing body approves the resolution, it would still be a while until Sunday sales could go into effect at the city's two liquor stores.
"Any resolution would be published twice in the paper and would take effect 61 days after the last publication, unless there's a petition for a referendum for a vote by the city at large," Crow said.
Harry Krouse, owner of Krouse Retail Liquor, noted that Sunday liquor sales in Wyandotte County are cutting into his business.
"It's starting to hit us in the pocketbook," Krouse said.
James Lingenfelser, owner of JR's Retail Liquor, agreed.
"With neighboring cities moving in Sunday liquor sales, it's going to cut into our business," Lingenfelser said. "Particularly our Saturday business, which is the best night of the week."
Lingenfelser said it's obvious to him that if people drive out of town to buy liquor on Sunday, they're likely to eat or shop at other businesses while they're there.
Krouse said he hopes Sunday liquor sales can be enacted soon.
"I'm just trying to be open by the football season, 60 to 80 days down the line," Krouse said.
Tonganoxie resident Calvin Rose spoke in favor of adopting the resolution.
"I don't drink, but I do see where we're going to lose money," Rose said.
After council members tried to hammer out details, they decided more time is needed before voting on the resolution. Among their questions is if Sunday liquor sales are allowed, would they be allowed on Easter Sunday, or on other holidays that might fall on a Sunday? Currently state law prohibits sales of liquor on holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.
Council member Velda Roberts said that because the state laws prohibit liquor stores from being open on Independence Day, the city's resolution should also prohibit sales on those days.
But Cranor countered, noting that if the city opts out of state law, then the state's rules no longer must apply.
"If you charter yourself out of the state laws, in reality, I think you could be open, if you wanted to, on Christmas Day," Cranor said.
The more they discussed it, the more council members decided they needed additional time to work out the details, as well as more time to learn how local residents feel.
"We need input," Wetta said. "We don't have anybody here from the public other than the two retailers. I don't hear anybody against it."