The Cherokee City Council discussed issues surrounding the City's liquor license during a 30-minute Council Workshop preceding the Jan. 13th, regularly scheduled, City Council meeting, and decided to further study the matter and bring it before the Council at its next meeting.
The license was originally approved for the Community Center to make that facility competitive with other area "centers" that offered a liquor license to cater to and boost reservations for gatherings, including family and class reunions, weddings. receptions, graduation parties, birthdays, etc.
The license has been a point of discussion the past several months as the Council has received complaints about the City's practice of transferring the license to various city and civic groups for special community events, including the annual Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival, RAGBRAII, and summer street dances.
As the Workshop revealed, the Council favors keeping the (beer & wine) liquor license for its original intent, and to discontinue the practice of transferring it to others, as this practice provides direct competition to other Cherokee bars and restaurants who must procure their own liquor permits.
Council member Linda Burkhart is against the City even having such a license. "I don't want the City involved in the selling of beer and wine business," said Burkhart. "We are not trained or have the expertise to do that."
Council member Greg Stieneke stressed the need for the City to further promote the remodeled Community Center and to retain the liquor license for one or two more years to see if it could help create more rentals of the Community Center.
"We need to promote the Community Center for gatherings instead of all the business going to WIT (Western Iowa Tech Community College Conference Center in Cherokee)," said Stieneke.
Council member Bob Leach concurred with Stieneke that the Community Center needs to promote for rentals for gatherings and added that the City just put $400,000 in renovations in the Community Center and pulling the liquor license would be "pulling the rug" out from under that facility.
In other business, the Council approved a bid of $54,084 from Danko of Snyder, Neb., for the purchase and installation of three emergency warning sirens at a cost of $18,028 per siren.
Danko submitted the highest bid, but was the only one of four bidders to fully meet the specifications required by the City.
The new sirens will be electro-mechanical and sound at 130 decibels to help ensure residents will hear them after they are strategically spaced throughout the City.
They also were recommended by Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Aimee Barrett because they met the required specifications and are rated as among the best, durable warning sirens available.
The Council approved the Danko bid pending procurement of funding for the third siren that is already under way, according to Mayor Pam Pierce.
Two of the sirens will be installed and operational at no cost to the city. One siren has been paid for from funds from the late Ray and Florence Erlandson Trust, and the other will be replaced by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) after the siren was damaged in a storm in June, 2008.
The Council also approved purchase of a new phone system at City Hall from C-M-L Telephone Cooperative of Meriden at a cost of $2,299.95, plus the stand-by power supply for $149.95.
City Clerk Deb Taylor pointed out that the Cherokee Public Library already has the C-M-L phone system and is pleased with the product.
During his Administrator's report, City Administrator/Manager Don Eikmeier lauded the work of the City Street Department employees in their repeated snow removal efforts the past few weeks, despite battling some equipment maintenance problems and arduous hours.