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Local Government

Geneva tables discussion on liquor ordinance

Geneva officials Monday voted to table a discussion on researching an ordinance that would allow a liquor license holder to run for alderman.

Third Ward Alderman Dean Kilburg voted to table the motion because 1st Ward Alderman Sam Hill was not present for the discussion at the Committee of the Whole meeting.

The issue will be discussed at the Nov. 12 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Officials first debated the issue during a July 30 meeting and took a straw poll to approve allowing liquor license holders to run for alderman.

The matter arose because Mike Olson, who owns Stockholm’s pub and restaurant, announced his intention to run for alderman. A Geneva ordinance does not allow a liquor license holder to run for alderman.

Olson’s friend, Jennifer Anderson of St. Charles, recently created an online petition at urging officials to allow Olson to run for alderman.

The petition currently has 62 signatures, including Richard Hayhurst of Geneva.

“Keep elections open; let the public decide who can best represent them,” Hayhurst said on the website. “Arbitrarily restricting certain classes of individuals, in small communities, makes no sense.”

Aldermen who favored the ordinance change echoed similar statements.

First Ward Alderman Chuck Brown said the voters are smart enough to make their own decisions. Other officials, such as 2nd Ward Alderman Richard Marks, were concerned about potential conflicts of interest.

“I just feel this kind of change in a small town like this opens us up to a lot of criticism,” Marks said.

If the ordinance change is tentatively approved Nov. 12, it will need to be approved at the next City Council meeting.

Olson has until Dec. 24 to file his candidate petition for alderman. He said if the ordinance change is approved, he will have enough time to make the filing.

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