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Commission OKs Sunday liquor sales
However, a petition could take matter to a public vote
new deh county commission dredge main pic
Shown is the new sand dredge purchased recently by Barton County. The Count Commission Monday morning approved insuring the machine. - photo by Tribune file photo

 In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Approved insuring the county’s new sand dredge with Scottsdale Insurance of Scottsdale, Ariz., for $6,672 per year. Barton County bought the Cutterhead suction dredge from Custom Dredge Works in October. Quotes for property insurance were then requested from Alliance Insurance, with three insurance brokers replying, Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller said. Scottsdale had the lowest bid.

In the past, the county has not insured its dredge, but with the cost of the new unit, it was thought to be a good idea. There aren’t many companies that offer this sort of specialized insurance, it was noted.

• Approved occupancy agreements with the KSU\Barton County Extension Council and the State of Kansas Parole Office which are housed in the Barton County Office Building at 12th and Kansas. The agreements, set to expire Dec. 31, 2016, allow each agency office space, as well as use of the county’s phone and long distance services. Each agency has a separate agreement for the provided space and services.

There is no rent charged, but the entities reimburse the county for a portion of the phone and utility costs.

• Announced that those seeking notifications of regular and special commission meetings submit a written request, something that is done annually. According to state law, in general, as an open meeting requirement, a public body may require that a request to receive notice must be submitted to the body prior to the commencement of a fiscal year. As the County prepares for Fiscal Year 2016, the commission directed staff to request such written notifications. Such requests are made of the businesses and persons currently receiving announcements, said County Administrator Richard Boeckman. 

 It may soon be legal to buy liquor and beer on Sundays in rural parts of Barton County after action by the Barton County Commission Monday morning.

The commission approved a resolution authorizing such sales, but it will not go into effect until 61 days following its publication in the Great Bend Tribune. This is to allow time for county residents to file a petition opposing the change with the County Clerk’s Office, County Clerk Donna Zimmerman said.

A petition would have to include the valid signatures of 5 percent of the registered voters in the impacted area who voted in the last presidential election, Zimmerman said. In this case, that would be slightly less than 200.

According to state law, the commission “shall call” special election within 45 days of when the petition is filed, unless there is a general election within that time frame, which there is not, Zimmerman said.

The resolution will be published Dec. 1 which starts the clock ticking, she said. A petition would have to be filed by the end of January.

Up until the passage of the resolution, no one could sell alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverages in the original package on Sundays outside city limits, she said. Several communities in the county had already OKed Sunday sales, including Ellinwood and Hoisington, but Great Bend voters have rejected the idea.

This led Commissioner Alicia Straub to abstain Monday morning since her District 4 straddles areas that both allow and disallow the sales. “I can’t make a fair decision. I feel it should go to a vote of the people.”

However, “I don’t want the responsibility for saying no for everyone,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. This is why she voted for the resolution.

The action would allow sales on any Sunday, except Easter, between the hours of noon and 8 p.m. in the rural area of the county.  

It passed with yea votes from Schartz, and Commissioner Don Davis and commission Chairman Kenny Schremmer. 

In a related matter, the commission approved a retail liquor licence for Esten V. Millard, operator of Outer Limits Liquor LLC, who wishes to open a liquor store north of Great Bend at the intersection of U.S. 281 and NW 30 Road, Zimmerman said. 

In order for an applicant to receive a license to sell retail alcoholic liquor outside city limits, the  commission had to first adopt a resolution allowing it. 

Now, Millard will send the license to the director of the Kansas Department of Revenue, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, for final approval.

It was also Millard who requesting the Sunday sales.