The Point Beach Borough Council has voted narrowly for preliminary approval to mandate that bars stop serving alcohol at midnight or pay fees.
Council members William Mayer, Tim Lurie and Stephen Reid voted against introducing a new ordinance calling for bars to stop serving alcohol at midnight and a second ordinance offering bars the option to pay a fee to serve from midnight to 2 a.m.
Council members Kristine Tooker, Bret Gordon, Michael Corbally and Mayor Vincent Barrella voted yes on both ordinances.
In the borough council form of government, the mayor only votes to break a tie.
On last night's agenda, both concepts, i.e. mandating that bars stop serving alcohol at midnight and how they can pay a fee to serve beyond that time, were both encompassed in
However, during the meeting Barrella said they were taking that one ordinance, 2012-15, and breaking it down into two separate ordinances, the first regarding hours and the second regarding the option to pay fees to serve beyond from midnight to 2 a.m.
A second reading, public hearing and adoption of the those two ordinances is scheduled for the council meeting on May 1. The meetings start at 6:30 p.m. with closed sessions and then the council comes out into the public meeting at about 7 p.m.
Earlier in the meeting, the council voted 4 to 2 against
Council members Gordon, Mayer, Lurie and Reid voted against the original ordinance, after a motion to table it failed.
Although he did not say so, it is expected that Gordon voted no on the original ordinance because he preferred the new ordinance regarding bars serving alcohol only until midnight or paying fees to serve until 2 a.m.
before the new ordinance was drafted.
See first attachment for the original ordinance and the second attachment for the new ordinance , 2012-15 (which was broken down into two ordinances as described above).
The meeting was crowded, with many standing along the sides of the meeting room.
A number of those attending were owners, attorneys and employees of Jenkinson's and Martells, along with representatives of other businesses and many residents.
It was clear from sentiments expressed at the microphone during public comment periods that people had divergent opinions on the issue of when bars should have to stop serving alcohol or pay fines. However, when it came to applause, it seemed like those against the earlier deadline for serving alcohol had the greatest number of supporters in the room.
Ron Gasiorowski, an attorney for Jenkinson's and Martell's, spoke at the microphone after the vote. He asked Corbally if he has a conflict of interest in voting for the earlier bar closings because he is a Realtor at a local real estate office in District 4 and he might stand to make more money on commissions if there are earlier bar closings.
Corbally responded that he did not think he had any conflict of interest because he believed the earlier bar closings would help improve the quality of life for the town and improving quality of life was an objective he had campaigned on.
Owners and attorneys for Jenkinson's and Martell's said after the meeting that they did not have an immediate response to the vote. However, Gasiorowski has said in the past that his clients will legally challenge any decision to mandate that bars either stop serving alcohol earlier or pay additional fees.