Archive for Thursday, May 22, 2003

Sunday sales on Basehor agenda

Resolution would make Basehor first city in county with Sunday sales

May 22, 2003

Next week, Basehor could become the first city in Leavenworth County to pass a resolution allowing the sale of packaged liquor on Sundays.

During its meeting Tuesday, May 27, the City Council will discuss the proposal. The public will have an opportunity to comment before a decision takes place.

Basehor Mayor Joseph Scherer said the proposal has support on the City Council and members could approve the resolution Monday night.

"I expect a majority vote," he said.

The mayor said the proposal supports local businesses.

"It's been shown it's a legal process and can be allowed," Scherer said.

"We still need to support our local businesses," he added. "It's legal, so why should we give that money to another city?"

The liquor sales do not generate sales tax for cities. However, the resolution would allow Basehor residents to spend their Sunday dollars at home, helping local stores compete against stores open seven days a week, the mayor argued.

Currently, Sunday sales of packaged liquor are legal only in Edwardsville and Kansas City, Kan., where those municipalities opted out of the 1949 Liquor Control Act, under home rule amendment.

The Edwardsville City Council passed a charter ordinance in September allowing the sales; voters in Kansas City, Kan., approved a charter in November.

The state challenged the voters decision. A Wyandotte County District Court judge upheld the cities' home rule amendment.

Thus far, the state has not filed an appeal, but the case is under review.

Basehor city attorney John Thompson said he is researching any possible legal ramifications of allowing the Sunday sales.

Don Moler, executive director of the League of Kansas Municipalities, said the outcome of the Wyandotte County case would decide whether other cities approve Sunday sales.

"I seriously doubt anyone else would be part of the litigation," Moler said. "The outcome of the appellate court will determine whether cities can charter ordinance packaged liquor sales."

The League of Municipalities is not currently pursuing legislation which would provide cities with sales tax from packaged liquor sales, Moler said.

Other local cities have considered approving Sunday sales.

In April, the Bonner Springs City Council rejected a charter ordinance approving the sale of liquor on Sundays. The ordinance was voted down by a 4-3 margin.

A motion in September to approve Sunday sales failed in the city of Leavenworth. City officials said the motion failed because commissioners wanted to further research the proposal and its effects.

However, during a study session Tuesday, May 20, city commissioners revisited the issue and directed city staff to prepare a resolution for consideration.

Leavenworth city commissioner Brian Grittman is in favor of allowing Sunday sales. He said it would provide an economic boost to local business as well as the state.

"It's a potential helpful solution to the huge deficit our state is running," Grittman said. "It would provide revenue to businesses in eastern Kansas and to the state which is living in debt.

"Why should residents of the city of Leavenworth drive to our neighbors in the south to buy a bottle of wine to go with their Sunday dinner?" he added.

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