Marinette Council Okays Walmart Liquor ChangeIssue Date: April 11, 2019
A special Public Works Committee meeting was held Wednesday, April 3 before the City of Marinette Common Council meeting for the purpose of recommendation to Council regarding the 2018 MS4 annual report and compliance documents for the municipal separate storm sewer system permits. After brief discussion, the report was approved by the committee, recommended to Council and was approved later in the Common Council meeting.
The main topic of discussion for the Common Council meeting that followed the special Public Works meeting was the process of working out the logistics of the Walmart curbside grocery pickup when alcohol is involved in the purchase.
Walmart will be adding the service of online order and pickup of groceries at the store, to include alcoholic beverages at its Marinette location. An amendment to premise description was approved at the prior Personnel and License Committee meeting on March 19, but Mayor Steve Genisot brought it to Councils attention with the original sales policy of selling alcohol up to this point at the store, checking identification of the customer that is purchasing the alcohol as well as also checking ID's of anyone that was with the customer, no matter the age.
If anyone with the customer was underage, they were denied from purchasing the alcohol. In the interim with the introduction of the online service, Genisot asked Walmart to have a representative present at the Council meeting to answer questions he had and how the policy affects curbside pickup.
Assistant Manager, Andy Bull was present at the Council meeting and informed Council the company policy for checking identification for liquor purchases changed on Tuesday, March 2, now stating, the customer purchasing the alcoholic beverage must be of legal age and identification will be checked for legal age. If additional people are with the customer, Walmart no longer needs to verify their age or check any IDs, only the purchaser of the alcohol will be checked.
Bull added, Walmart employees delivering the alcoholic beverages to the pickup customers must have a valid liquor license and customers purchasing alcohol will be checked for ID as well as records will be kept. A palm pilot will be used to enter the customers information into the system.
Bull also said, "All associates have to take a Computer Based Learning System (CBL) course about the procedures and guidelines of the transaction process. He also commented, liquor is in a secured area, the sale is not final until they sign to verify and liquor can only be dispensed between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m."
Alderperson Ken Keller commented, "There are other communities that are operating the online pickup including alcohol like this, such as Darboy and Plymouth. As a City we need to be cautious, take-out grocery is one thing, but curbside pickup of liquor is another".
Alderperson Dorothy Kowalski said, "Walmart was the only one with this strict of a policy, I agree with Mayor Genisot's concerns, I just want to run this through my head right now".
Alderperson Rick Polzin added, "The new requirements are consistent now with other liquor sales policies in our area. Is there any audit if there would be fraudulent selling to underage and what would the audit be for this system"?
Alderperson Brian Walters responded, "I don't think there is any audit program anywhere else in the community".
Polzin added, "Taking liquor out to a parking lot is a looser transaction, we shouldn't be making it easer to get liquor. It makes it less of a controlled environment, I see opportunities for mistakes and errors". "Does Walmart have any checks in place to make sure its employees were following liquor laws, other than typical checks by law enforcement". Bull said he was not aware of any and Kowalski commented that the city does not require internal checks from any other businesses that serve liquor.
Keller commented, "Walmrart's policy was much more strict then it had to be".
Kowalski stated, "I know it is something new and we don't want to take chances, but how do we know if it's going to work if we don't try. Alderperson, John Marx added, "I think they have a very strict policy, payment is done at time of pickup along with ID check and recorded in a Palm Pilot".
Genisot commented he was still concerned about the verification process, especially with the last minute change of the store policy. He said, "Surprisingly, the policy changed two days ago all of a sudden, because we had questioned it. Now we're setting a standard for takeout liquor. You can drive up to any liquor store with a phone app, pick it up and we're hoping that whoever is working at Walmart or wherever is checking their license".
Alderperson Brian Walters said, "To me, the policy that they had was stricter than probably anyplace else, This is just bringing their policy to be the same as any other place. Why does it matter"?
Genisot responded with, It was a concern we had, as well as the police chief and others in the City. This is the first business that has ever asked to do takeout liquor, I just wanted to caution that it's something new".
Polzin questioned, Clerk Lana Bero, "If we grant this, can it ever be changed if there is an issue? If there are issues, what recourse do we have, what is the approach"? Bero replied, "We would have to come to a hearing to revoke it and challenge their premise description".
Keller made a motion that the amendment to Walmart's liquor license description be approved and was seconded by Walters. The amendment was approved with six yes votes and Alderpersons Flatt and Polzin opposed with Alderperson Walter Hitt abstaining.
In his Mayors report, Mayor Steve Genisot recognized newly elected Alderperson, Dave Anderson who is replacing Brian Walters and two uncontested candidates that kept their seats consisting of Ward 1 Ken Keller and Alderperson at Large, Dorothy Kowalski. He also mentioned Rumble At The Rec will be held Friday, May 3 with this being the largest event at the Rec Center thus far. The Easter egg project is well underway and The deadline for contributing or donating to the project is April 12. Also the Business Expo is being worked on and will also be held at the Rec Center.
The Mayor also gave an update of what is happening to enhance the look of Marinette for the upcoming fishing tournaments, including more signage wraps put on utility boxes, more benches will be added, banners will be updated and there will be new and larger signage.
Mayor Genisot recognized and thanked a long term employee, Patti Olson for her 24 years of service. She is retiring from the City of Marinette Water Utility Department. He said, "Patti has worked in many rolls, starting in Finance, was Payroll Clerk and also Finance Director for two years and ending her career as Office Manager of Water Utility. She has been a great asset to the City with just a few of the tasks including setting up of customer files and records, wrote procedures for the Payroll Department as well as for the Water Department".
Warren Howard, Water/ Wastewater Operations Manager, then spoke reiterating what a great asset Patti was to their department and to the City. She helped him through a lot of stuff, she was able to multi task like no other, doing many things at once and getting them all done with accuracy. She was always there to help and never complained, always with a smile on her face. Howard added, "You have worked so hard for so long, without you things are going to be different around the office. We appreciate everything you have done for us and you will be missed".
Mayor Genisot also stated since 1996, bio-solids have been disposed of on fields in the area outlying Towns that include the PFAS contaminants from Tyco. Per community requests to the DNR of where these fields are located, the list is now posted on the City of Marinette website under the Wastewater Treatment Department titled '1996 to 2018 Land Application Fields'. He also stated, negotiations and communication will continue with Tyco about what will be done with sludge going forward. At present, per DNR request the sludge is being held and not being dumped on fields at this time until more testing is complete
Several bid results were approved for Board of Public Works including Street construction on Burns Street and North Raymond Street with lower bid approved for Barley Trucking and Excavating from Menominee at $1,288,53.69 with the other two bids at $1,468,420.73 from DeGroot Inc and $1,719,353.39 from Advance Construction, both from Green Bay.
With only one bid received for topsoil, it was an easy decision to award the bid to the only bidder, Havelka Construction from Wallace, Mi., in the amount of $1,565. Three bids were received for 2019 seasonal gravel requirements from Biehl Construction of Marinette at $895, Peters Concrete from Green Bay for $1000 and Havelka Construction from Wallace for $1,024. The bid was awarded to lowest bidder, Biehl Construction.
Only two bids were received for Asphalt with the lowest bid going to the significantly lower bidder at $60,945 from Biehl Construction of Marinette versus $84,702.50 from Northeast Asphalt Inc of Green Bay.
Finally the uniform and Facility Service products bid was awarded to Aramark Uniform Service of Appleton with lowest bid at $9,302.79 versus $12,234.24 from Cintas Uniform Services of Green Bay.
Approval was given for seven new and two renewal operator licenses forwarded from the Personnel and License (P&L) committee meeting of March 19. Also approved upon forwarded recommendation by P&L were three Class B fermented malt beverage license applications for Holy Family Parish Picnic to be held at 2715 Taylor Street on June 16, Marinette County Tavern League foundation Softball Tournament that will be held at Higley Field, 2001 Carney Ave. on June 7 and 8 and Marinette Menominee Area Youth Hockey for Fight For Jerry Come Together Benefit concert to be held at the Rec Center, 2501 Pierce Ave. on April 6.
Mayor Genisot announced for calendar planning purposes the annual Common council Sine Die meeting is scheduled for Monday April 15 at 6 p.m. and the Annual Common council Reorganization meeting is Tuesday, April 16 at 5 p.m. Due to time conflict with the annual Common Council Reorganization meeting, the April date fro the regular committee meetings for Finance and Insurance, Board of Public Works and Personnel and License will be one day later on Wednesday, April 17.
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