Archive for Thursday, August 11, 2005

Last call or happy hour?

Business owners pushing for Sunday liquor sales to learn Monday

August 11, 2005

The issue of allowing Sunday liquor sales in Basehor may be facing its last call. Then again, it might also be happy hour for those seeking extended, seven-days-a-week sales.

At next week's Basehor City Council meeting, the governing body is scheduled to vote on a charter ordinance that would allow Sunday sales of liquor and cereal malt beverages in Basehor. Basehor and Tonganoxie are among the few cities in the metropolitan area that do not allow Sunday sales.

The council voted down Sunday sales in 2003. Like a cork held under water, the issue bubbled back to the surface again in July after the owners of Shorty's Liquor Store -- the city's only liquor store -- brought forth a petition signed by approximately 1,200 customers supporting such a measure.

Monday night, representatives from another Basehor business -- Casey's Retail General Store -- are slated to present a similar request to the City Council. Officials from the store could not be reached for comment, however, it's possible the store's reasoning for Sunday sales will be similar to that of Shorty's.

Surrounded by stores in nearby cities such as Bonner Springs, Edwardsville, Kansas City, Kan., Leavenworth and Lansing that allow Sunday sales, advocates for seven-days-a-week sales contend their businesses unfairly lose customers.

The City Council has three choices when it comes to Sunday sales: approve or deny the charter ordinance, or place the issue before public vote in November. A week ago, Basehor resident Richard Nemchik broached the idea of a public vote to the council.

Basehor mayor Chris Garcia said he didn't believe the City Council had yet reached a consensus on the issue. Garcia, who's publicly taken opposition to allowing Sunday sales, said the extended sales question would take its cue from council members.

"I'll present it to the council and say 'you tell me and the citizens how you feel,'" the mayor said.

This week, Basehor city officials researched the possibility of adding the Sunday sales question onto the November election ballot.

According to the city, an election would be possible only if a petition signed by at least 5 percent of the city's qualified voters was submitted. The petition submitted by Shorty's Liquor Store was not a valid one, city officials said.

One option considered by the city was to package the Sunday sales question and share election costs with the Basehor-Linwood School District, which is proposing a $22.9 million bond issue in November.

By sharing costs of the election, placing the Sunday sales question on the ballot is estimated to cost the city $1,200.

According to a memo released by the city, "the most cost effective way to adopt an ordinance regarding Sunday sales" would be to take action on the issue Monday night.

In compliance with the state's Liquor Control Act, revised in the last regular session of the legislature, the City Council now has the authority to adopt an ordinance allowing Sunday sales and also establishing days and times of operation.

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