Even though a vote was not taken by the Richmond City Commission to advertise for a beer license for Gibson Bay Cafe, Interim City Manager Jimmy Howard said Monday that all commissioners were asked their opinion.

Howard asked city attorney Garrett Fowles for guidance on the issue, and Fowles told him that a vote by the commission was not necessary.

However, because there was some question, Fowles told Howard he could do an informal poll of the commission.

“I did that on June 9,” Howard said. “The question was: Are you in favor of the city selling beer at the cafe at Gibson Bay?”

Mayor Connie Lawson along with commissioners Rita Smart, Robert Blythe and Mike Brewer voted “Yes” in the poll.

Blythe voted “Yes ... as long as their are no legal conflicts,” Howard said.

Strong gave a “No” vote, stating that he was not for the city being in the restaurant business and the golf pro having a beer license in his name.

Brewer also expressed concern about golf pro Jason Eberle having a beer license in his name.

Howard said that that was not a problem because the license is in the city’s name, not Eberle’s.

The city has received word that it will be awarded a beer license for the cafe, but there has not been an issue date has not been determined, Howard said.

There was some confusion as to how Gibson Bay Cafe ended up on Monday’s agenda as a discussion item, and Howard said it was placed on the agenda at Strong’s request.

At first, Strong said he did not recall requesting that the cafe be placed on the agenda, but then said he remembered that he wanted to discuss when and where it was determined that the city should go into the restaurant business.

Brewer announced on Facebook last week that the city having a beer license in its name was a conflict of interest, and that he was not aware of another city that had an alcohol license in its name.

Howard named several governmental entities Monday that hold an alcohol license, including Lexington, Boone County and Bowling Green.

The city took over the operation of the cafe Tuesday, May 25 after a tied-vote.

When the awarding of former owner Jeannie Strong’s (wife of Commissioner Bill Strong) lease extension came to a vote Commissioners Blythe and Brewer voted in favor of the cafe’s lease being renewed, and Lawson and Smart voted against the idea. Commissioner Strong excused himself from the commission chambers during the discussion and abstained from voting.

In the absence of a contracted operator, the operation of the cafe reverts back to its owner by default, which is the city of Richmond.

In other business:

• The commission passed the final reading of an amended 2009-2010 fiscal year budget

The previously prepared budget was not in line with the city’s actual revenues and expenditures for the current fiscal year, and state auditor Crit Luallen suggested to city officials at a meeting in late May that the 2009-2010 budget be amended to reflect the actual numbers before adopting a new budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

The previously adopted 2009-2019 budget reflected an estimated revenue of $25,441,180, and the amended budget calculates $23,893,173 in revenue and $24,460,048 in expenditures. This leaves the city with a $566,875 deficit for the year ending June 31, 2010.

• An order was adopted authorizing Lawson to sign a lease agreement between the city and the Madison County Veterans Committee.

This order allows the veterans committee to use a city-owned facility located at 314 W. Main Street to conduct its business and host meetings.

• Andrew Woolum volunteered to be laid off as a part of the city’s ongoing reduction in force, according to an order.

“The board (of commissioners) extends its sincere thanks to Mr. Woolum for his services to the city and for the sacrifice inherent in his volunteering to be part of the city’s reduction in force,” the order reads.

• A bid was awarded to Colman Harrison of D&H Professional Mowing based in Richmond at a rate of $20 per hour.

Harrison will serve as a contractor to the city in charge of mowing, trimming and debris removal on all properties that have been abandoned or are not being kept in accordance to city property maintenance ordinances.

The next meeting of the city commission is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 13, at Richmond City Hall.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 624-6608.

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