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Bar owners to discuss new server's ordinance with city Monday


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Bar owners and city officials will talk Monday about a new Wausau ordinance with new rules for alcohol servers. The new rules mean bartenders and servers are themselves held to .04 blood alcohol levels, so they can effectively do their jobs, monitor crowds, and prevent intoxicated people from trying to drive a vehicle. City Council voted to override Mayor Jim Tipple’s veto of the ordinance at the end of January 8-2, but some including the Mayor want more input from the establishments serving alcohol.

Tipple says that’s why he set up today’s meeting. “The affected stakeholders, i-e, the bar establishments, taverns, did not have a chance to give input to the ordinance, and now after the fact, we need to move kind of quickly to get their input at least, and concerns, so if anything needs to be modified, we have them in hand sooner rather than later.”

Council President Lisa Rasmussen has expressed at past meetings that the public had ample opportunities for input, and disagrees with the Mayor. Tipple believes this went too quickly in December without looking at the possible impact.

Tipple says Monday’s meeting will be more suited to lengthy discussion of issues, such as the possible unintended consequences or the enforcement issues. “We’ve already had, you know, public comment several times at the council meeting, but that’s kind of limited. We try to limit them to three minutes, and this is an opportunity to let them talk over the issues and get the necessary input to either make the ordinance stronger or make changes to the ordinance.”

Mayor Tipple says he has received a lot of comments about the new server’s ordinance since being placed on the books in January. “My office has been flooded, and everyplace I go out in the community, people are questioning why is it needed, and really are quite embarrassed that we didn’t ask the bar owners for input before we crafted an ordinance.”

The discussion will be at 5:30 p.m. in the city council chambers.

(Our interview with Mayor Jim Tipple can be heard on our website, here.)