Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Challenges likely coming against Sunday liquor sales

September 17, 2003

The coming weeks will be crucial in deciding whether Tonganoxie's new charter ordinance approving Sunday liquor sales goes into effect, is killed or becomes the focus of a special election.

Last week's city council decision to follow a recent trend among Kansas City area towns now gives people opposed to the ordinance a chance to protest it.

If a valid protest petition is received by the county clerk by Nov. 24, the city council then will have to decide to kill the ordinance or conduct a special election.

Assistant city administrator Kathy Bard said an election would cost the city roughly $2,000.

At least one Tonganoxie resident said he planned to circulate a petition against Sunday sales.

Bard said residents could stop by City Hall for examples of protest petitions.

People who sign petitions must be registered voters in Tonganoxie. The person's address and name also must be on the petition as it appears in the voter registration records in the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

Petitions must then be dropped off at City Hall. Bard said the papers are taken to Leavenworth where the county clerk checks to ensure the names are valid.

In order for the protest petition to be valid, 10 percent of the voters in the most recent election must sign the petition.

That election was in April. And with just 384 residents casting votes in that election, roughly 40 valid signatures are required.

Mike Weston, Tonganoxie, was the first person to visit city hall. He plans to circulate a petition in coming weeks, but said recent actions in Shawnee to kill Sunday sales might influence the city.

"There so many things that have happened since then," Weston said. "I clicked the news button and Shawnee rescinded theirs."

Although he has no signatures yet, Weston has heard feedback against Sunday sales from fellow church members at Heartland Church of the Nazarene.

Bard said Monday that two other people had inquired about petitions.

Liquor store owners in Tonganoxie initially didn't want to be open on Sundays, saying they wanted a day off. But recently, they've changed their minds and are worried about competition from stores in other area cities.

On Tuesday, Weston said he didn't think that made being open on Sundays would have an effect.

"I just don't buy into the excuse of Saturday," said Weston, who does not now drink alcohol. "I can't legislate morality, but I made sure if I had enough beer, I bought it on Saturday night.

"That's all there is to it."

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