Alcohol legislation debated again at council meeting

By Kimberly Gasuras - [email protected]

An ordinance to amend the city’s codified ordinance concerning the consumption of alcohol in public places was once again a heavily debated topic at the Galion City Council meeting Tuesday evening.

Residents opposed to the amendment voiced their opinions that it will be sending the wrong message to area children if alcohol is allowed in public parks.

“The schools promote anti-smoking, anti-drugs and anti-alcohol and I think the city should support that,” said Galion resident and former city law director Roberta Wade.

Council member Susan Bean opposes the legislation, but only the portion that will allow non-profit organizations to apply with the city for a permit to serve alcohol at certain events. Bean has said previously that if business owners like Chris Stone, owner of the Eighteen-O-Three Taproom on Harding Way East, want to serve alcohol within a fenced in area of their business, she would approve that.

“I do not see the need for alcohol to be served in public places such as the city parks,” said Bean.

Mayor Tom O’Leary explained that the application with the city is only the first step in a non-profit organization from being allowed to serve alcohol at an event.

“They must then apply through the state liquor control board and follow the very strict guidelines set forth in their rules. Things such as fencing, point of sale, where transactions can take place, security, are all heavily governed through that department,” he said.

Tom O’Leary’s son, Mike O’Leary, said that at Galion Graders games, a small, fenced in area would house a beer garden area.

“We will have strict rules and no alcohol would be allowed outside the fenced in area,” Mike O’Leary said.

The second reading of the ordinance was approved by council with a 5 to 2 vote. Bean and Dr. Thomas Fellner were the only ones to vote no on the issue.

Open meetings laws were also discussed again when Wade pointed out that the council passes too many ordinances and resolutions as emergencies.

“It is not good government to not allow the citizens to have time to come to a meeting to discuss an issue before it is passed,” Wade said.

Several pieces of legislation concerning grant applications were passed as emergencies during the meeting.

“There are time constraints as to when applications must be filed and these are the cases in which we need to enact the emergency clause so that legislation is passed in a timely manner,” said law director Thomas Palmer.

The next council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on May 24 at the Galion Municipal building.

By Kimberly Gasuras

[email protected]