By Lea Kopke
SEYMOUR – The city council again debated the bartender license approval process at its July 26 committee of the whole meeting.
Alderperson Ryan Kinney first brought up the argument at the committee’s July 12 meeting, where he said he did not agree with the recommendation to approve one applicant who’d sold alcohol to minors in the past, but not another who’d sold to minors more recently.
The council decided not to vote on the recommendations at July 12 meeting, and to have Police Chief Isaac Schultz provide a set of guidelines for bartender license approval at the July 26 meeting.
The council approves license applications based on the recommendations of Schultz, who provides general supporting information along with the recommendations.
Kinney said he disagrees with this practice and believes the council should know all the details to make its decision.
Mayor Ryan Kraft said some details of the investigation are not open records, especially if a federal agency is involved in a case, like with the second applicant.
Council President Roger Behnke said the council has always trusted its mayors and police chiefs, who have the clearance to know case details.
Alderperson Pat Krull said the council doesn’t need to know specifics, it just has to trust Schultz.
“You believe the chief is lying to us?” Krull asked.
Kinney said he trusts the chief but believes both applicants should be treated the same because of the amount of time that has passed since their cases differ by 10 months.
Alderperson Alex Tetzlaff said Schultz said the decision was not just based on the different timelines, but other factors, too.
Tetzlaff said the council should trust the police chief.
“(Schultz) was put in that position with very high regards from the last guy, and he’s done an excellent job to this point,” he said.
City Administrator Sean Hutchison said Schultz follows the guidelines he brought forward earlier during the committee meeting and state statutes in his decision-making process.
“(His decision was) based on the guidelines we have,” Hutchison said. “So there are certain things you have to follow. It has to be warranted if it’s not approved, based on the guidelines that were written.”
The committee of the whole voted to move all but the second bartender’s applicant to the regular council meeting for approval, with Kinney opposed.
Later that night during the council’s regular meeting, it unanimously approved the bartender licenses from the committee of the whole meeting.
The council also approved Schultz’s alcohol license qualifications and guidelines, with only Kinney opposed.
In other action:
• The council approved setting up a separate fund for money the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides economic stimulus money for local governments.
Hutchison said the city needed to separate the funding from the general tax fund so it doesn’t disqualify the city from the Expenditure Restraint Program, which provides aid to municipalities that limit spending growth.
• The council approved a certified survey map for Claude and Adam Court, located in extraterritorial zoning.
• The council approved several liquor license permits and an amplified device permit.