L.A.S.T. Ace Again liquor license decision postponed until July 23 meeting

By Cindy Cardinal
Posted 7/3/24

The Owen Common Council held their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 25. Under Public Opinion, Tom Jirschele said he had the same questions as in the past, the money owed to the city by Jim Bohl, his …

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L.A.S.T. Ace Again liquor license decision postponed until July 23 meeting


The Owen Common Council held their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 25. Under Public Opinion, Tom Jirschele said he had the same questions as in the past, the money owed to the city by Jim Bohl, his not paying taxes to the county, and an update on the tire plant. Mayor Scott Jalling said he would address some of those items during his Mayor’s Report. Rick Nelson was there to talk about liquor licenses, particularly in regard to L.A.S.T. Ace. He said he wasn’t sure what was going on but that the license was an asset for the business and the council should not jeopardize the value of the building. Nelson said that lots of times the council makes a decision and doesn’t look at the long-term impact. He said to make sure the decision is viable regardless of the owner. He also felt it was a conflict of interest for alderperson Jason Thornton to vote as he owns a similar business in Withee. Nelson added the meeting time should not be changed to an earlier time.

Alderperson Ray Kilty talked about the Kerry Ingredients property tax issues. He said he is trying to get ahead of them making the same claims for 2023. He feels this should not be happening every year and the state should correct it. He has looped Vesper in on his calls also. He said Kerry only does this to towns without good comparables.

The letters went out for delinquent water bills and as of meeting time, Clerk Tracy Rau reported that only two would be shut off the next day. Everyone else either paid their bill or made a payment agreement.

Operators licenses applied for were approved for Dollar General, One Shot, LLC, and L.A.S.T. Ace Again.

L.A.S.T. Ace Again and Red Daisy Girl have both applied for a liquor license. L.A.S.T. Ace Again owner Tony Wallace said he planned to be open by the Car Show in August. A police and fire inspection is needed before he can open, along with state electrical plans and a state inspection per Alderperson Bob Wilczek. Wallace said he has no state approved plans, but does have an electrician to do the work. Wilczek said that he can’t get a building permit for a commercial structure without state approved plans, that the state is watching Owen now. Wilczek said the plan and permit requirements are about making a change versus doing maintenance. Alderperson Kilty confirmed this. Wilczek suggested that Wallace call DSPS to see if they are requiring a master electrician or an engineer to submit the plan. Wallace said that without a license his building had no value. He doesn’t know if he should even do the work. Alderperson Pam Jaffke said he has had since October to do something. Wallace confirmed that he is applying as a new business. Carey Hargot from Red Daisy Girl said she had been on the waiting list for awhile. Police Chief Patrick Fehlman said since it is a new application, it changes how the council needs to look at it. Each business is applying for a new license. Wilczek said that Hargot’s business is zoned mercantile, not assembly, and asked if she was willing to make a change to get the license. Hargot responded yes. Wilczek suggested tabling the license to let each business do what they needed to with the state. Hargot said that according to the ordinance, Wallace should not be given a license because of his drunk driving offenses. Wallace said that they were misdemeanors and don’t count, but Chief Fehlman said they do count and that one doesn’t even need to be convicted to be deemed a habitual criminal. Wallace said he had been offered a plea agreement on his latest charges and then would be sentenced. Alderperson John Mauel didn’t see a problem with postponing the vote at this time. Wilczek told Hargot that if she is given the license, her business will be listed as a bar, a place of assembly. This means the upholstery business can’t stay in the back of the building. Kilty suggesting tabling it until the next meeting so both owners could do the plans that are needed. The council approved postponing the issue until the second meeting in July,

Council members looked at the preliminary audit and have some questions. The auditors will be at the meeting the end of July to answer questions. Approval of the audit was tabled until the auditors explain it.

Alderperson Thornton had questions about city hall staff doing 10 hour days and being closed on Friday. He wanted to know with a clerk and deputy why they couldn’t work staggered hours and still be open on Friday. Clerk Rau said the dropbox is available for bill payment. Alderperson Ken Martine felt it was also a perk to retain good employees and that the council should support it. Mayor Scott Jalling said that would be possible taking Thornton’s suggestion of staggered days. Martine said they are there until 5 p.m. Jaffke asked how many people stop in on Friday and the response was very few. Rick Nelson commented that the first time he came and they were closed, he was upset, but he has adjusted to it. He suggested maybe the hours could be adjusted during tax time.

Council members seemed to agree that moving the meeting time to an earlier time would be a bad idea for people who have to work and no action was taken to change the time that council meetings start.

Under the Mayor’s Report, Jalling said that the Centennial Committee wants to take a community photo after the parade. To address the earlier questions by Jirschele, in regard to the $10,000 owed to the city by Jim Bohl, the former mayor Charlie Milliren, Tim Swiggum and DPW Chad Smith had talked to Jim Bohl and reached a verbal agreement, but nothing was put in writing. The auditors want to write it off. Tim Swiggum, who was present at the council meeting, said it was written in the 9th Street agreement. In regard to taxes, Bohl did not get a city building permit for his duplexes so the assessor didn’t know about it. Kilty said a letter has been sent to Bohl about the need for city building permits going forward. Jalling said they are still working on the tire plant and it was part of the closed session at the prior council meeting.

Kilty said they would be staking out the dog park and it would be in place soon. Wilczek said they will be doing some fencing to protect the trees in the park area that were planted with grant funds.