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Local Government

St. Charles committee OKs framework for liquor commission

ST. CHARLES – St. Charles is one step closer to having a liquor commission, not just a liquor commissioner.

In committee this week, aldermen approved a new ordinance that outlines the purpose, membership, powers and duties of the commission.

Police Chief Jim Lamkin presented the ordinance, noting it contains many details aldermen discussed in May as part of an ongoing discussion about the city’s liquor license code. Aldermen have been scrutinizing liquor license issues since former Mayor Don DeWitte proposed an earlier closing time last year due to problems connected to overserving.

The proposed ordinance – it still needs City Council approval – calls for a five-member liquor commission that will act in an advisory and hearing capacity.

As mayor, Ray Rogina will serve as liquor commissioner. He would appoint the other four members – two aldermen and two city residents.

Rogina said Wednesday he knows which aldermen he would appoint but declined to provide names.

As for the other commissioners, he said he would likely consider residents who have shown interest in serving the city, such as those who have sought a seat on the City Council.

“Time’s of the essence,” he said of not wanting to call for applications.

The proposed ordinance sets some restrictions on who can serve as a commissioner. Members should not own or work at any licensed establishment, nor should their spouse, parents, siblings or children.

The commission would meet as called by the liquor commissioner. At the commissioner’s request, it would review applications and background investigations and submit findings and recommendations to the commissioner.

It would also submit findings and recommendations to the commissioner about disciplinary hearings.

Lamkin noted that other amendments to the liquor code, such as changes to the 2 a.m. licenses, will be discussed later. Aldermen have talked about reviewing such licenses annually.

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