Aksakalko

The Laramie City Council will discuss proposed changes to local liquor ordinances during their meeting Tuesday, May 2.

The council will have the introduction and first reading on the changes to Title 5 of the Laramie Municipal Code concerning special malt beverage permits and alcoholic beverages, in order to bring Laramie into compliance with changes the state legislature made to liquor laws in Wyoming during the most recent session.

Laramie Mayor Andrea Summerville said the state legislature passed a number of bills that substantially changed aspects of Wyoming’s liquor laws, which will require Laramie to update their ordinances.

“With these substantial changes, there are quite a few that we need to incorporate into our city municipal code and then there were a couple items that the state is leaving up to the local municipality to decide,” Summerville said. “So we need to make those decisions and get those in to the city ordinances.”

Changes to the ordinance include changes to the definition of a dispensing room to a building and shortening the period between obtaining a liquor license and beginning alcohol sales from two years to one year.

Fee increases for licenses and permits are also included in the proposed changes, particularly for bar and grill licenses, which will double from its original fee of $1,500 to $3,000 for the first year.

“We are trying to look at this holistically, these fees have not been changed for quite some time,” Summerville said.

Summerville said Laramie City staff conducted a survey to compare the fees other cities currently have for liquor licenses.

“The fees being proposed in the first draft of the ordinance updates are the recommendations that are coming back to us after that survey from our city staff,” Summerville said. “There may be more changes proposed and we will be looking for significant public comment.”

Summerville said the council has already had businesses and individuals reach out to them with comments.

The city also proposed changes to allow the University of Wyoming to sell alcohol in the Arena Auditorium and the War Memorial Stadium. Summerville said UW already receives a special permit from the legislature to sell malt beverages in the UW Union, but that permit doesn’t extend to other locations.

“Each one of those games will require a special permit from the city, becase the license for the union doesn’t cover the stadium and the Arena Auditorium,” Summerville said. “I think the discussion was trying to give them a yearly malt beverage permit, rather than making them come to the city for every single game.”

Summerville said the discussion will include three readings and a public hearing, which will take at least six weeks. Summerville said the City Council needs to have the changes approved by July 1, when the state liquor law changes go into effect.