Sunday liquor sales pass


Local alcohol retailers could be selling alcohol on Sundays as soon as Nov. 29, 2009. The city commission voted unanimously to proceed with the ordinance allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays and specified holidays, but not all local citizens are happy.

“The alcohol industry will never be satisfied,” said Stan Herman, Manhattan citizen in attendance. “There is a reason Riley county is number one recession proof. The quality of life is here. People like it how it is.”

Last night was the first reading of the ordinance that will allow vendors to sell alcohol on Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on every holiday with the exception of Easter Sunday. The ordinance does not require local businesses to be open on those days, but allows them the opportunity.

The ordinance must be published in the local paper for two weeks and then a 60 day grace period follows to give the local citizens an opportunity to comment on whether they want the ordinance instated.

Mayor Bob Strawn vehemently objected to the city’s proposed renegotiation of a payment agreement with Farrar Corporation’s debt to the city.

“We are going to sap out $220,000 from the tax payers, ” Strawn said. “I am strongly opposed to that.”

The Farrar Corporation owes $220,000 to the city of Manhattan. Due to the current recession, the owner Joe Farrar went to the city and asked to renegotiate the final payment. Working with Lauren Palmer and John Pagen, both city employees, the Farrar Corporation came to an agreement. That agreement must first be accepted by city commission.

The agreement states that Farrar will be forgiven the debt if they give 2.6 acres of their property to Manhattan Day Care and Learning Center(MDCLC). If the property cannot be used by the daycare, then Farrar Corporation must create 15 new jobs in order for the debt to be forgiven and the 2.6 acres will be given to the city.

The property to be given to MDCLC was appraised at $275,000. Strawn pointed out that the money owned to the city is tax payer money and Farrar only will be giving up $55,000 in assets by this exchange, the rest comes out of tax payers pockets.

Jeff Rosenow, President of MDCLC passionately pleaded for the commission to allow the transaction.

“Previously, we thought we had exhausted our options,” Rosenow said. “We thought this site was quite good.”

Rosenow said the site will allow the daycare to increase in capacity from around 50 slots to 200 slots, making the daycare sustainable. He said that with the limited capacity now, it was not.

Commissioner Bruce Snead pointed out to those in attendance, the city had given MDCLC $100,000 to keep it from closing its doors last fall, but agrees with the decision to give the land to the daycare.

“I think its the best possible solution for Manhattan Day Care,” Snead said. “It’s a critical step I hope we can take.”

During commissioner comments before voting, Strawn again voiced his annoyance with the commission in accepting the proposal.

“I swear every possible social service that comes before this commission, they [the commission] will always be passed,” Strawn said. “At some point people are going to run out of money. So the people on fixed incomes don’t have to pay for this over and over and over again. I’m sick of this. I’m going to be on the back side of a 3-2 vote again.”

As Strawn predicted, the vote was 3 for and 2 against. The motion passed.

The commission also approved construction of Cox bros. BBQ on McCall Road between Firestone Complete Auto Care and Freddy’s Frozen Custard. Manhattan-Ogden U.S.D. 383 request to waive the building permits for the various projects scheduled over the next four years on improvements to the schools in the district were also approved by the commission.

The last item on the agenda was to appoint a representative to the chamber of commerce board. The commission appointed Commissioner Loren Pepperd with a vote of 3-1-1. With Strawn voting against and Peppard abstaining. Strawn thought a member of city commission sitting on a closed board such as the chamber violated the transparency policy adopted by the city last year.