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Petition forestalls Sunday liquor sales

Staff writer

In light of a petition that would have required a special election on the matter, Hillsboro City Council voted Tuesday to have City Administrator Larry Paine draft an ordinance to repeal an earlier vote by the council which would have allowed liquor sales on Sunday.

On March 15, the council voted to allow the sale of liquor and full-strength beer on Sundays at the request of the owner of R&D Liquor. However, state law requires a petition period to give the public an opportunity to force a referendum on the issue.

Opponents of the ordinance organized a petition that collected more than 300 signatures. Even after more than 200 of those signatures were invalidated on a technicality, the petition had more than the required 98 signatures. The petition was certified by the Marion County Clerk’s office May 18.

The successful petition left the council with two options: hold a special election no later than July 1 or repeal the ordinance. The county estimated a special election would cost the city $1,884.

Mayor Delores Dalke said she had spoken with the owner of R&D Liquor, Don Vinduska, and he told her he would prefer the council repeal the ordinance because he didn’t want to be at odds with the community.

Based on the petition, council member Byron McCarty said he thought an election would reject Sunday liquor sales and be a waste of taxpayer dollars. When the council initially approved Sunday liquor sales, he said he would have voted against it if there weren’t a petition period. On Tuesday, he said he was happy to see the democratic process worked.

Cottonwood Valley Independent Baptist Church Pastor, the Rev. Plato Shepherd, was one of the petition organizers. He said the petition wasn’t because people were against the city, but because they were against the ordinance and liquor sales.

In other business:

  • A proposal from Evans, Bierly, Hutchinson & Associates P.A. for a joint project with the City of Marion to combat zebra mussel infestation at the cities’ shared water intake was tabled. Based on water usage, Hillsboro would pay about two-thirds of the cost, which could be as high as $450,000, Dalke said. Hillsboro’s use is so much higher than Marion’s largely because the city sells water to the City of Peabody.
  • Kansas Health Foundation awarded the city a $25,000 grant for the playground project. The project has about $60,000 of its goal of $75,000 to add new playground equipment at Memorial Park.
  • Bryson Mills was appointed municipal judge for one year. Mills serves as municipal judge for several cities in Marion County. Paine was appointed city treasurer, and Dan Baldwin was appointed city attorney, both through 2012.
  • Final payment of $15,800 to APAC for work on the sewer lagoon project was approved.
  • Keller & Associates of Lawrence will conduct an appraisal of the Salem Home building, which the city owns, for $6,000. Salem Home needs the appraisal for auditing, and the appraisal may benefit the city in future negotiations.
  • Doug Huxman was appointed to Hillsboro Planning Commission to fill a vacancy.
  • A survey of First Street between Ash and Adams streets, Birch Street between D Street and Grand Avenue, Cedar Street between D and Third streets, and Date Street between D Street and Grand Avenue to determine whether the city qualifies for Community Development Block Grants is 38 percent complete, Paine said. If 10 more households return their surveys, it will be enough to apply for a grant, as long as the survey shows 51 percent of the area is low- or moderate-income housing. Early results were favorable, Paine said.

The next scheduled council meeting will 4 p.m. June 21, but the council may not have a quorum required to do business because of council members’ other obligations.

Last modified June 9, 2011

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