Early last December, roughly 10 percent of the city’s businesses that serve alcohol, beer and wine were in compliance with the city’s alcohol ordinance. Today, according to Development Services Director Jessica Scott, that number is up to 30 percent.
“We’ve had several more people in recently, which is great,” Scott said. “We’ve finished making the list of all of the people we’re sending courtesy notices to and we’ve also started making personal visits.”
Scott said many of the businesses still do not know they need a permit from the city, relying solely on their liquor license from the state of Oklahoma. The city has been slow to move on the issue to allow businesses
time to come into compliance.
“With a lot of the big corporations, it takes time to get things done,” Scott said. “They’ll have to send the application into corporate. Then corporate fills it out and sends it to us. It takes some time and that’s okay.”
The city’s goal is for all businesses that sell alcohol, beer and wine to be in compliance by the end of the year, after that they may begin to issue fines.
“The fine can be up to $500 per day, but we don’t want to get there,” Scott said. “That’s not our goal, and this isn’t about making money. Our goal is just compliance. We just want to make sure every place is safe, every place is good, and that’s essentially what my department does. Everything we do is for public protection.”
She said that while people may not agree with the permitting, it is another way for the department to protect consumers and businesses.
“It’s just one piece of the pie, and you have to have a whole pie,” Scott said. “One piece is permitting. One piece is code enforcement. One piece is inspection, and that’s what my whole department does.”
She said the Community Development Department also ensures any violation reports are addressed within 24 hours. The only exception to this would be reports made on Friday or over the weekend which would be addressed on Monday.
“If people have an issue, they have to have somebody to call and if you call us someone is going to be there within the next 24 hours to assess,” Scott said. “If there is no violation, there’s no violation. If there is we’ll figure out what’s wrong and work with everyone to get the problem fixed.”
Applications for businesses needing a permit can be found on the city’s website at www.ardmorecity.org/157/Community-Development.
Wichita Mountains Prevention Network will be hosting a free training session on responsible alcoholic beverage service and sales taking place this afternoon at the Ardmore Public Library between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.