• Thu June 21 2007
  • Posted Jun 21, 2007
Committee will provide permits By ROBERT WOLF, Messenger correspondent CLARION — The question of alcohol sales in rural areas of Wright County during RAGBRAI was apparently put to rest at Monday’s meeting of the Wright County Board of Supervisors. A month ago the board received a request from the local RAGBRAI Committee to approve an ordinance requiring food and beverage vendors obtain a permit to sell to the public on July 24 when RAGBRAI riders pass through the county. Residents of the county would not be charged a fee for the permit. Non-food venders must also apply for a permit to sell at a location other than their regularly established place of business. The permits are available from the Bike2Clarion RAGBRAI Committee at the Clarion City Hall, the Belmond Chamber of Commerce, or the Eagle Grove Chamber of Commerce. The original ordinance would not allow alcohol sales in rural areas other than at established businesses. Sheriff Paul Schultz had told the board he supported the ordinance because it would help with rural law enforcement during the event. Two weeks ago the board denied a temporary liquor license for JM Enterprises LLC, Clarion, to sell alcohol that day. Originally Supervisor Larry Olson approved the denial but quickly changed his vote. Supervisor Rod Toftey was absent for that vote. The board felt the license would violate the ordinance. Jeff Mussman, JM Enterprises owner, told the board Monday, ‘‘I’m an individual trying to make a profit just like any other bar owner.’’ He said he is a private entrepreneur with several business ventures. He was willing to do anything required to obtain a permit, but because he lives outside Clarion he would not be allowed to set up under the original ordinance. On Monday RAGBRAI Committee Co-chair Pam Kruger told the board the intent of RAGBRAI was not for individuals to make a profit but to help established businesses and nonprofit organizations bring in money to help their communities. She said the committee recommended the ordinance to limit the number of alcohol stops in the county. Clarion, Eagle Grove and Belmond will allow alcohol sales. ‘‘The reason I changed my mind, and the only reason I changed my mind, is because Belmond had decided they want to set that booth up and I thought they should be able to do so,’’ Olson said. ‘‘If they could put it up, I thought Mr. Mussman should be able to put his up.’’ Toftey said, ‘‘If I was a local business owner, no matter what, if I had 15,000 people about ready to come to my area, I would look at that as a great opportunity to make some money. ... I don’t particularly like government dabbling in private enterprise.’’ Mussman said he was not aware of any other county that has a similar RAGBRAI ordinance. Kruger said several communities have the ordinances but not other counties. Supervisor Myron Amdahl said not limiting alcohol sales in rural areas during the event would put a strain on the sheriff’s department and would open the county up to liability. Toftey said he was not going to have his decision influenced by liability or insurance concerns. Supervisors Toftey, Olson, and Caye Chelesvig approved the second reading of the ordinance amended to leave out the paragraph limiting alcohol sales. Supervisors Amdahl and Stan Watne voted against. The third reading was waived. Amdahl said the board had spent about 12 hours discussing an ordinance that would only be in effect 12 hours. Reconsidering the temporary liquor license for JM Enterprise, the board voted to approve. Toftey, Chelesvig, and Olson voted in favor. Amdahl and Watne voted no.

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