Ordinance amendment fails

Thursday, July 14, 2011
The Common Council of the City of Brazil failed to pass a motion to amend an ordinance, which would have allowed alcohol to be sold in the clubhouse at Forest Park Golf Course. The golf course does have a permit to sell alcohol.

The possible removal of two words from an ordinance has sparked much controversy in the community.

The Council Chambers at City Hall was packed for Wednesday's meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil as final action was considered regarding the elimination of the words "golf clubhouse," from Chapter 97.27 of the Brazil Code of Ordinances, which prohibits the use of alcohol or narcotics in areas under the jurisdiction of the Parks and Recreation Board.

"In my almost four years on the council, I have probably received more calls and comments on this topic than anything else," Council President Sam Glover said. "In fact, I could hardly walk through the park during the Fourth of July Celebration without getting stopped by someone wanting to talk about it."

A couple of the reasons for the controversy is the concern of potentially intoxicated individuals being in such close proximity to the park, and the disapproval from many residents about the sale of alcohol on city-owned property.

Council member Bill Lovett explained to the crowd Forest Park Golf Course does not receive tax dollars and is completely self-supporting.

"In order to provide tax funding to the golf course, we would have to either take from every department's budget in order to fit it into the city's budget, or raise taxes," Lovett said in response to a question about subsidizing some of the course's expenses. "Right now, the golf course has set its fees probably as high as they can go in order to remain competitive with other courses in the area."

Brazil Parks Board President Ruthann Jeffries said responsibility over the decision to sell alcohol, and other matter pertaining to the golf course, were transferred to the Golf Board when it was established in 1981.

However, she stated while the Parks Board has no control over such decisions, it has expressed concerns as well.

"As members of the board, one of our responsibilities is to protect the safety of patrons to the parks," Jeffries, who also read a prepared statement of concerns from Parks Board members, said. "Safety concerns are our main concern and there is the potential this could increase the risk to the children and park patrons."

For years, patrons of the golf course have been allowed to bring in their own beer to the golf course, which recently acquired a permit to sell alcoholic beverages.

"I don't think the amount of alcohol consumed at the golf course has changed in the last 50 years," Fritz Modesitt said. "Also, I can't think of another municipal-owned golf course that doesn't already sell alcohol. In fact, consumption may actually go down if the golfers have to spend $2 a can rather than bringing their own in coolers."

Forest Park Golf Professional Mark Rogers added the sale of alcohol has been a topic of discussion for the Golf Board for at least a dozen years.

"When I first started at the course, I was asked if we should consider prohibiting alcohol from the course completely," he said. "Without really thinking about it, I said, 'Sure, if you want to go out of business.'"

Rogers specified that by having the permit to sell alcohol, it could increase the ability of the course to enforce rules because patrons would not be able to bring in their own alcoholic beverages.

"I assure you this is also a serious matter to all of us as well," Rogers told the council and those in attendance. "There will be signage put up notifying people of the potential punishment for bringing in their own alcohol and we could require them to maintain their receipts on the course in order to ensure the beer was bought from the clubhouse. Plus, we could limit the brands we sell and monitor the situation if someone has a brand we do not sell."

City Attorney Traci Lawson explained both the city and golf course has separated liquor liability policies, and the true nature of the issue is cleaning up the ordinance to remove potential liability concerns from the parks.

Bill McDonald, who spoke in support of the selling of alcohol in the golf clubhouse, said the boost in revenue may not come from the sale of alcohol, but the increased attractiveness of the course because of the ability to sell alcohol.

"There could be a huge boost in the marketability of the course through the sale of alcohol in the clubhouse because there are several businesses that like to put on golf scrambles as well as individuals who prefer to play at courses that sell beer," McDonald said. "So the true boost in revenue could actually come from greens fees."

It was also said during the meeting the decision on whether or not to remove "golf clubhouse" from the ordinance would not make a difference on the sale of alcohol at the course as it could still be sold out of the cart barn.

"If they have their license and can sell without us making this decision, then why are we voting on this?" council member Pat Heffner asked. "Like Sam, I have gotten the most calls on this issue, and while I don't quite understand why we need to decide on this, I do know the constituency is against it."

Council member Brad Deal added, "We may not be able to say they can't sell alcohol, but I think the least we can do is take the liability off another group that is not responsible for these decisions either."

Deal made a motion to remove "golf clubhouse" from Chapter 97.27 of the Brazil Code of Ordinances, which was seconded by Lovett. However, they were the only two who voted in favor of the motion as Glover and Steve Lamb voted in opposition, while Heffner abstained, killing the motion by a 2-2-1 vote.

Lawson told The Brazil Times that while it appeared to be a tie vote, Heffner's abstention from the vote works essentially as a vote of opposition as it prevented a majority in favor of the motion.

"This is a five-person council, and with only two votes in favor, it did not gain a majority, and therefore could not be passed," Lawson said.

As to why he voted against the motion, Glover told The Brazil Times, "I did not have anything positive said about this issue from all the people who have stopped or called me. The residents had very strong opinions, and in this situation, my vote represented those opinions."

The Common Council will conduct a special meeting at 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 27, in the Council Chambers of City Hall to consider animal control.

The council's next regular meeting will take place at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the same location.

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  • Wow the golf board has already spent close to 2 thousand dollars for the liqour license and ect.This was ok-ed not only by the golf board but Bill Lovett(councilman) and our now mayor,both backing this all the time.Now is the golf board and councilman and mayor going to repay what they blew??? The golf board purchased this liquor license for 1000 dollars without doing any research,but whats new,the golf course has lost money for the last 12 yrs and it will again this year.Have any doubts just call our treasure McQueen,every yr thy refinance club house just to keep afloat.Its time to clean house!!!

    -- Posted by clycogrl on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 10:37 PM


    -- Posted by clycogrl on Thu, Jul 14, 2011, at 10:48 PM
  • This city/county just amazes me. And no that is not meant to be a compliment in this case.

    -- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 8:02 AM
  • i have alchol in my house, it's not for sale can i get out of paying my water bill

    -- Posted by carebuttonbroke on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 8:31 AM
  • Good deal. We have plenty of watering holes already. The newest didn't need to be in our park.

    -- Posted by brazilian on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 8:45 AM
  • Carebuttonbroke ~ Funny stuff ........ Maybe if you played golf in your back yard....... lol

    -- Posted by Silverlining on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 9:33 AM
  • I can't understand why people in this community want to stifle things that apply to the paying customer or the white collar working class. If you can afford to play golf, then your income level is a bit above the regular beer drinking public. Meaning their IQ is somewhat above 110.

    And since when are the people in Brazil so anti liquor? Just check out the bars and social clubs (Eagles, Moose, Elks) on a weekend. Selling beer at a golf course does not infringe on the freedom of anyone in Clay County to enjoy their home or their free time. If selling beer helps the golf course meet their financial obligations, then leave them alone and mind your own pocket book.

    I myself do not drink much beer, but I believe it is the right for any working citizen to enjoy a cold brew while relaxing on the golf course.

    Bottoms up Guys!

    -- Posted by Keeping An Open Mind on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 11:43 AM
  • Well now I am confused. I thought I read that the golf board could decide to sell the beer regardless of what the Park Board or the Common Council of the city of Brazil voted but the other letters above seem to make it sound as if this vote stopped the sale of beer. Which is it?

    -- Posted by indianamama on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 12:09 PM
  • It seems to me from what I read is that the biggest concern is public safety in the park. No one wants people coming off of the golf course intoxicated and then driving thru the park. The problem is this. As stated in the article, golfers already have the ability to bring their own beer to the course and have for many, many, years. The golf course staff does not have the personel to monitor how much beer any particular golfer brings or drinks while playing a round of golf. By allowing the course to sell beer and then not allowing people to bring their own dramatically increases the golf course personels ability to monitor the consumption-- thus greatly increasing their ability to keep "drunks" from leaving the course and endagering other people in the park. Bad decision by the council IMO. By the way I no longer play golf, so I have no personal interest in the matter.

    -- Posted by open minded on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 12:11 PM
  • I attended the meeting Wednesday. Let me clarify what this did. It prevented the golf course from being able to sell beer out of the clubhouse. It does not prevent the golf course from selling beer out of a cart or other building.

    -- Posted by PositiveBeatsNegative on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 12:26 PM
  • "keeping an open mind" and "open minded"...thank you for making my point which I did not spell out in my earlier remark. That was clearly the position a was trying to take. I whole-heartedly agree with your comments and you both stated them very well.

    For the record, I am not a golfer or a beer drinker. I will admit to an occasional margarita at Marios however.

    -- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 1:53 PM
  • Well I DO drink beer, I can buy it at walmart or at a bar, even golf course. It really doesn't matter to me. I do think if they are selling to make money , they should Pay for water and every other bills just like tax payers.

    In the park, I'm really not worried about drunk drivers, try the speeders.

    If you drink and drive you are a dumb butt.

    -- Posted by carebuttonbroke on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 4:34 PM
  • Wake up folks! No one forces one to buy or consume beer--you can get it anywhere. If it keeps your great golf course running by increasing revenue for the course and also for your community, it is a win-win situation. Can't understand why Mr. Glover and Mr. Lamb don't see it. The name of the game is support your local business', not kill them!!! That golf course is an asset to your community, don't destroy it.

    -- Posted by jumarwoods2 on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 7:26 PM
  • Missing point here people. It's a matter of equity and free enterprise. If golf course doesn't pay for water [And I'll bet they use a lot of it if they water the green] they are already benefitting from public's taxes and have an edge over privately run/owned courses in the state. Last I knew their fees were lower [read competing with those who do not get free water and maybe other perks paid for by tax payers] so they already have an edge over private courses.

    I will repeat if they want to be a private course and sell liquor, let them fully pay for things like other courses do and not benefit from tax payer money.

    People in Brazil should not be subsidizing others hobbies and past times when so many other areas have real needs.

    -- Posted by Jenny Moore on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 10:16 PM
  • So let me get this straight: They dont have enough people or "staff" to monitor the amount that is brought in now, but if they are allowed to sell beer then they can monitor how much is being consumed? So does this mean that they would use the revenue from the sell of beer to hire more "staff" to police the golf course to see if golfers are drinking beer purchased from the golf course or brought from home? Excuse me sir, could you put down that club and let me see your beer ticket?

    So if the CYL (who I believe has its own board also) and the YMCA (who runs the softball field) get in a little financial trouble they can start selling beer to go with those ball park peanuts?

    -- Posted by lifehasitsmoments on Fri, Jul 15, 2011, at 10:32 PM
  • i dont think CYL will be introuble, they charge parents for their kids to play, they charges teams and they charge parents to get in to watch games. maybe they should sell beer.

    -- Posted by carebuttonbroke on Sat, Jul 16, 2011, at 4:38 PM
  • Please they already drive thru the park and every street in that town,if ya got money they will pick you up for drinking if ya have no money, go right ahead drink all you want and please drive.

    -- Posted by indyade on Mon, Jul 18, 2011, at 10:28 AM
  • This is a stupid debate. Surely to goodness someone can play golf without beer. Why would you want it where childern are playing? If you need to drink a beer, go home and drink it. By the way, I didn't know the golf course didn't pay their water bill like the rest of us citizens do. I think the Council should insist that a meter be placed in the Club House and let them start paying for services like the rest of us. I sure don't want my local taxes going to keep the golf course green.

    -- Posted by waterless on Wed, Jul 20, 2011, at 2:17 PM
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