Council stalling on liquor license

By Chris Steinbach · Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Sergio Gonzales keeps attending West Liberty City Council meetings, hoping the liquor license will be approved for El Alacran, the bar he wants to open at 321 North Calhoun St.

But he will have to wait until at least next month after the Council on Sept. 18 tabled his license application until its meeting on Oct. 2.

“I’m spending money without working,” Gonzales told the Council in making his case. “I’m not a rich person.”

Gonzales, 54, is trying to open his bar in the former Palenque Bar, which has been closed since the Council denied renewal of its liquor license earlier this year. The Palenque had a history of fights and numerous liquor law violations, according to city officials.

Marcia Garcia, owner of the former Palenque, has appealed the denial of her liquor license renewal to state officials, Council members told Gonzales.

The city won’t take action until Garcia’s appeal is decided or dropped by the state, said Council Member Robert Hartman, the mayor pro tem who ran the meeting while Mayor Chad Thomas was away.

“We can’t have two liquor licenses at the same location,” Hartman told Gonzalez.

Last week’s Council action was the second time approval of Gonzales’s liquor license application has been delayed. It was tabled earlier to give Gonzales time to pay about $1,200 in outstanding bills and fines to the city.

In other business, the Council:

• Unanimously approved a license request for Giri’s Liquor Store and a beer/wine permit for Giri BP.

• Agreed to revisit an agreement with Energy Pioneer Solutions of Hastings, Neb., to conduct energy audits throughout the city. The council had tentatively approved the agreement during its June 19 meeting pending review by the city attorney. Since then, issues with the contract have been discovered, including language that refers to laws of the state of Nebraska instead of Iowa.

• Approved paying claims totaling $135,733.

• Approved a change order for an increase of $27,625, and a pay estimate of $188,888 to Langman Construction of Rock Island, Ill., for the Walton Street Sewer Project.
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