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Rugby City Council approves beer, liquor ordinance changes

By Staff | Dec 6, 2019

The Rugby City Council approved a first reading of changes in city beer and liquor license ordinances at its regular meeting Monday evening at Rugby City Hall.

“The ordinances for beer and liquor didn’t necessarily match up in a lot of areas,” explained council member Gary Kraft.

Kraft discussed the changes with council members and Dan Corum, owner of 3rd Street Station and Steve Mattern of Northside Lounge.

City Attorney Bill Hartl asked questions and clarified the changes, which would affect hours of business and penalty periods for violations including serving and consuming alcoholic beverages after 2 a.m. and serving alcoholic beverages to minors. The reading also clarified certain requirements license applicants must meet.

Hartl pointed out to the board a section of Ordinance 418, which describes not granting liquor licenses “where the personal property taxes are delinquent.”

The board changed the language in the section to refer to property taxes on real estate.

A section describing the notification period for owners who violate the ordinances was changed, and the period during which violations stay on licensees’ records was changed to 12 months for an ordinance pertaining to serving or consuming alcoholic beverages after legal hours. Other violations stay on licensees’ records for 24 months.

Council member Frank LaRocque recommended keeping the 24-month period for violations such as serving alcoholic beverages to minors.

Rugby Police Chief John Rose responded to the ordinance changes, saying, “I agree with Frank on it. This is kind of a new slate. Yes, there are offenses that I think should (have violation periods of) two years, but I think offenses as he described probably shouldn’t.”

The first reading of Ordinance 418 passed with a unanimous vote. Council member Jackie Albrecht moved to accept the reading of Ordinance 419 “to mirror the changes that were made in 418.” The first reading of Ordinance 419 also passed with a unanimous vote.

The council also heard from Rugby Job Development Authority Executive Director Liz Heisey, who described the progress made with a comprehensive land use and capital improvement plan drawn up in 2014.

Heisey described the need for an updated comprehensive plan, noting facilities used by the public such as the swimming pool and armory had maintenance and repair issues.

“The more resources are pooled together on common goals, the better the outcome,” Heisey told the council.

“Another reason we need to get this done is we need a general ballpark figure on how much these big projects cost because obviously, we don’t have 2.2 million or 4.5 million dollars lying around in our general fund or our enterprise funds. So, we have to plan for how we’re going to pay for it. A lot of these big projects probably need to be paid for over 10 years; some of them will be 20 years before they’re paid for. And there’s a lot of ways to finance it. We can do revenue bonds, they can be paid for through sales tax, or they could be paid for through water revenue or sewer revenue. It does take a lot of planning to put this in place. There’s no other way to get this financing.”

Heisey added, “How does Rugby want to grow? What are our priorities? What does the public want? And this is the perfect time to get input from your constituents and other organizations in the city. Other organizations are also looking to city for leadership especially for economic development. It’s like what kind of industry or businesses do we want to attract? Or what kinds of businesses can we support? Do we have the infrastructure to support certain types of manufacturing? Do we have the roads, do we have the electricity, do we have the water, do we have the sewer? Those are all things that we really need to think about so it’s not just a make it up as you go along type of thing. It’s very comprehensive.”

Kraft asked if Heisey was responding to the council’s 4-3 vote to accept a community development block grant (CDBG) comprehensive land use plan at November’s regular meeting.

Heisey answered, “Yes, and also, I want the council and the public to start thinking about what needs to be in the next comprehensive plan or what updates do we need, and what are our priorities?”

Kraft said, “It gives you a guide to go by anyway. We’ll probably be adjusting our water and sewer rates every year like we have been. There are a lot of things that we took off of that (presentation) now.”

“I think that’s a good overview for now going forward as we approach 2020 to start working on our comprehensive plan,” noted Rugby Mayor Sue Steinke.

In other business, the council approved the financials and minutes for November’s JDA and city council meetings, the 2020 city calendar, and fuel bids from Ferrelgas, Envision, MVP/Arco, and Harper Rugby Service.

The council reviewed and approved local permits for the Barton Sportsman Club and the Rugby Panther Boosters.

The council also approved committee reports and discussed progress made in moving city ordinances to the Municode software platform.

LaRocque was named to the ordinance and recreation committees.

Steinke informed the council Brosz Engineering of Stanley sent letters for right of way acquisition to Rugby residents living along N.D. Highway 3.

Steinke also reminded the council city offices would be closed New Year’s Day.

The council will hold a special meeting Dec. 16 at noon for a second reading of Ordinances 418 and 419, consideration of liquor license renewal applications and year-end budget and financial matters.

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