Ordinance to ban liquor delivery heads to second reading; City seeks more public opinion

(Gillette, Wyo.) Last week at City Council, Riley Hunter and Grant Edmunds of Creative Beverages were present for the first reading of a proposed city ordinance that would amend Section 3 of Gillette's City Code to include the following: (K) No retail liquor licensee shall deliver or cause to be delivered any alcoholic or malt beverage to any person whatsoever, except at the licensed premises. (L) No person shall engage in the business of making deliveries of alcoholic liquor or malt beverages from the place of any retail liquor licensee in the city. Edmunds and Hunter presented the preliminary results of a public survey they hosted online, which predominantly showed support for liquor delivery. Council seemed surprised by the results and want to see more before the next two readings of the ordinance. Supporters point out that liquor delivery is already happening -- albeit at a snail mail's pace -- around Gillette and Wyoming, as wine, beer, and spirits dealers from out of state are allowed to deliver to residents via the U.S. Postal Service and other parcel delivery services. One of their arguments against the ordinance is that allowing local businesses to deliver to residents would keep money spent on liquor in Gillette. Currently alcohol delivery services, like through third party apps, are legal in 43 major cities, but none really in Wyoming. The Wyoming Liquor Division says there is delivery in some smaller Wyoming towns, but no official ordinance they could talk about that regulates those deliveries. Concerns were raised that the person who orders and pays for the alcohol might not be the one receiving it. Creative Beverages assured council members that they will be checking credit cards with IDs before delivery is complete, and that portable ID readers can make that possible for their drivers. This is not to say, however, that every business in town to take advantage of delivery service would also be as diligent, which was another concern of the Council's. But Hunter claims paying for the service via credit card automatically makes it easier to track where the alcohol is coming from. Chief of Police Jim Hloucal was present at the meeting and was asked by the council for his advice. He said he felt it would encourage underage drinking, and hasn't seen evidence that it reduces drinking and driving or underage drinking. "Though common sense would dictate a reduction in drunk driving, common sense is rarely involved with drunk driving in the first place," he said. Council members seemed to be in agreement, voting 5-2 in favor of the ordinance, claiming that to spend thousands of dollars to prevent underage drinking in the past, and then turn around and make it more accessible, would be irresponsible. Councilmen Tim Carsrud and Dan Barks were the only dissenters Tuesday night. Carsrud then took to his own Facebook page to solicit residents' opinions . In general the council was unhappy with the first version of Edmunds and Hunter's online survey, so they have drafted a second one to help with public comment. The next city council meeting is May 3rd. *Photo h/t Peggy Lachmann // Pitchengine Communities* #county17 #news