Archive for Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Liquor store owner to petition for Sunday sales

Krouse tells city council members he’s losing business to liquor stores in Bonner Springs, Lawrence

April 27, 2005

Tonganoxie businessman Corky Krouse wants to test the waters again.

Krouse, who owns one of Tonganoxie's three liquor stores, wants to sell alcohol on Sundays.

According to Krouse, who asked the council in 2003 and 2004 to approve Sunday liquor sales, the matter is simple. He's losing business to neighboring cities that allow Sunday sales.

"They're going to Bonner or going to Lawrence," Krouse told city council members at Monday's meeting. "I've got a friend who has one (a liquor store) in Lawrence and he says he gets a lot of checks from Tonganoxie on Sundays."

And, Krouse told council members, the loss of Sunday sales effects his employees.

"I'm losing about $600 a week, which doesn't effect me, it just effects two employees I had to let go," Krouse said. "I thought that was what we were supposed to do was keep people employed around here."

City council member Velda Roberts reminded Krouse of his earlier tries to get the city to pass an ordinance approving Sunday sales.

"Corky, this is at least the third time," Roberts said. "The first time we approved the charter ordinance and there was a petition filed. That meant we would have to have a special election. At the time, Corky said he didn't want the city to have a special election and Corky said, 'Let's drop it.'"

Roberts said that if the council voted to approve Sunday sales, that it's reasonable to assume citizens would again file a protest petition.

"And that means we'll be in the position to request another special election," Roberts said.

The next time Tonganoxie voters would head to the polls is August 2006.

Krouse said he would be willing to reimburse the city for the cost of a special election, estimated at $1,500.

"I don't know if there's any provision for you to do that," said council member Ron Cranor.

Cranor noted he had made the motion to approve Sunday sales in 2003.

"I'm not opposed to it at all because I'm not opposed to booze," Cranor said. "If it does come to a petition type situation, I am hesitant about causing the city any more money problems than we already have."

Tonganoxie Mayor Dave Taylor said he would like to see more of a show of support for the ordinance before taking any action. Taylor asked Krouse if he could get a petition together.

Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez commended Taylor for his suggestion, saying state laws allowed citizens to petition on behalf of new laws, as well as against them.

On Tuesday, assistant city administrator Kathy Bard said a petition for a new ordinance must be signed by the number of electors that equals 40 percent of the voters in the most recent regular city election. And, Bard noted a petition against a proposed ordinance must be signed by only 10 percent of the number of voters who voted in the preceding regular city election.

Upon receipt of a valid petition, Bard added, "The governing body must either pass the ordinance within 20 days ... or call an election."

Bard said the city's last special election, held in June 2001, cost $1,855.

Leavenworth County Clerk Linda Scheer said 655 voters voted in the last regular Tonganoxie election, which means Krouse would need to have 262 valid signatures on a petition favoring Sunday sales. To count as qualified signatures, those who sign must be registered voters who live in the city of Tonganoxie.

And if a petition is later filed to protest the ordinance, Scheer said 66 signatures would be needed.

Because it's rather unusual to carry a petition in support of an ordinance, Scheer said it would be wise if Krouse would consult an attorney to ensure everything is in order.

As of Tuesday morning, Krouse said he still planned to gather signatures.

"I'm going to get a petition up and put it in my liquor store and my restaurant and just get people to sign it," he said.

Krouse said he's going to be persistent.

"I'm 70 years old and I don't have that much time to throw around," Krouse said. "Six months is a long time to wait around when you're 70, and I don't give up."

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