Archive for Thursday, August 4, 2005

Council considering Sunday liquor sales

Basehor resident proposes public vote

August 4, 2005

Absent from the debate surrounding the issue of liquor sales on Sunday in Basehor is a firm grasp on whether the public supports such a measure. Rather than second-guess what residents want, why not simply ask them?

Basehor resident Richard Nemchik broached that very idea -- placing the Sunday sales question on the November election ballot -- Monday night while addressing the Basehor City Council.

"If they say yes, that's what the town wants," Nemchik said. "If they say no, I don't think the town is going to go bankrupt.

"I think that would be the fairest way to do it," he added.

Basehor city officials are currently weighing their next step concerning the sale of packaged liquor on Sundays and some holidays. Basehor and Tonganoxie are among the few cities in the metropolitan area that do not allow Sunday sales.

Monday night Jim Breuer, owner of Shorty's Liquor Store, brought forth a petition signed by approximately 1,200 customers supporting a Sunday sales measure. Flanked by stores in nearby cities such as Bonner Springs, Edwardsville, Kansas City, Kan., Leavenworth and Lansing that allow Sunday sales, Breuer said his store is consistently losing customers.

"I've got over 1,200 people who've come to the store and said 'get this thing open on Sundays, Jimbo,'" Breuer said. He added, "The city is losing a lot of income whether they know it or not."

Store management maintains that Shorty's loses between $1,000 and $1,500 each Sunday it's closed. The figure rises on Sundays when there is a race at the Kansas Speedway or a Kansas City Chiefs game.

Breuer told the council he proposed being open from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. on Sundays and some major holidays.

During the meeting, support and opposition of the proposal was limited to Breuer and Nemchik, respectively.

While supporting the idea of a public vote, Nemchik said he did not favor the idea of liquor stores being open seven days a week.

"I just don't understand," he said. "We have six days of sales, why do we need a seventh day? I think one day of peace will be fine."

The City Council did not vote on the Sunday sales question Monday night nor did members address the issue.

It was discussed by Breuer and Nemchik during an open agenda portion of the meeting.

Whether it will come to a vote is unclear. Basehor mayor Chris Garcia said he would "get a council consensus as to what they want to do with it" before moving forward.

Garcia said he does not support the liquor store's push to open on Sundays.

"I'm not for it," he said. "I don't really see the economic gain for the city of Basehor."

However, the mayor said he would poll the council and let them decide if "this is something we want to mess with."

Should the council take up the issue rather than place it before voters, the Sunday sales question could face serious roadblocks.

In 2003, City Council members rejected a similar proposition by a 4-1 vote.

All four members who voted against remain in office.

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