The Springfield City Council continued work on a liquor ordinance Thursday and expects to vote on the ordinance at its Feb 26 meeting.
The council has not determined what its permit fees and application fees will be to serve liquor by the drink.
City Manager Brett Bennett said Rincon and county officials have not yet determined fees for liquor permits.
“If you want to wait and see what everyone else does, let’s just wait and set the fees at a later time,” he said.
Bennett said the fees will not be listed in the ordinance.
Council member Troy Allen asked if the council could approve the ordinance without having the fees set. Bennett said the ordinance will say where the fees will be.
“Council will have to make a motion to set the fees,” he said.
Council member Kenny Usher thought the ordinance was at the correct place for the excise tax the city will charge. The ordinance will state that the excise tax for liquor by the drink will be the maximum allowed by the state.
Council member Jeff Ambrose said that will prevent the need to amend the ordinance if the state changes the maximum allowed excise tax.
Usher asked if the council wanted to combine the liquor ordinance with the existing beer and wine ordinance. He was told combining the ordinances would increase the amount of time it will take to vote on the ordinance.
“I don’t think there is a huge sense of urgency to get it done yesterday, and whatever little bit of extra time it takes to get this thing right is well worth it,” he said.
Bennett said he was asked when liquor licenses would be available the Wednesday after the referendum passed. Springfield voters approved the referendum 160-102.
City Clerk Gaye Paquet found a conflict between the liquor ordinance and the beer and wine ordinance. The current beer and wine ordinance does not allow sales during polling hours of an election — the liquor ordinance allowed sales as long as it was a specified distance from the polling place.
The council decided to make the liquor ordinance the same as the beer and wine ordinance in not allowing the sale of any alcoholic beverage during polling hours.
Ambrose asked if the council wanted to keep the percentage of alcohol sales at no more than 50 percent. He said he heard the county was discussing as much as 65 percent food sales. Hinely said that percentage was too high.
“If you don’t have that 50/50, you won’t see the restaurants come,” Hinely said.
Usher said he thinks the 50 percent requirement of food sales is sufficient.
Council members indicated they had no problem voting on the ordinance at their next meeting as long as nothing major in it needs to be addressed.
Bennett asked the council to read through the ordinance carefully and let him know if there are any changes that need to be made.