I heard a rumor recently. The story goes something like this: at a recent “meeting” I supposedly announced my desire to make our village “dry” — meaning, banning the sale of alcohol in town. This is ridiculous for several reasons.
First of all, the rumor didn’t specify exactly what kind of “meeting” during which this policy was announced. I presume, then, that the person meant a village board meeting, since no other meeting would have any authority over village affairs. The Village’s meeting minutes are public information, and are kept as a permanent record of the Village’s meetings. The Village has not yet made the minutes publicly available on the internet — but I have, right here on this site. In addition, summaries of the monthly minutes are published in the Southern Champaign County Today weekly free newspaper. I challenge anyone to find in the minutes any mention of banning alcohol sales in town. It’s not in the minutes because it was never discussed during my time on the board, nor at any prior time that I am aware of.
Second, Illinois law allows for local control over the “number, kind, and classification of [alcohol-sale] licenses.” However, local regulations cannot override state law. State law prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sundays, unless a municipality passes an ordinance to allow such sales. 235 ILCS 5/6-14 [The Liquor Control Act]. 235 ILCS 5/9-2 describes the only way in which a municipality can become completely “dry.” That mechanism — holding a public referendum to decide the question — has nothing to do with the municipal authorities, and incidentally, requires pretty tough hurdles to be overcome before placing such a question on the ballot.
Third, even if the Village Board had the power to ban alcohol within village limits, there are several reasons the Board would not do so.
To begin with, banning the sale of alcohol in town would likely result in residents traveling elsewhere to purchase (and consume) alcohol. Those residents would then return to our town, possibly under the influence. Certainly nobody wants more intoxicated drivers on our roads.
Next, banning the sale of alcohol would remove what is likely a significant source of revenue for the only restaurant in town. The ultimate effect could be to make the restaurant unprofitable to keep in business. I, and I’m sure the other village trustees, are very much in favor of keeping existing businesses open, and attracting new businesses to town.
I very much doubt the originators of this strange rumor visit this site. The rumor gave me a chuckle because it was so preposterous. However, I imagine others might not realize the rumor’s falsity, so I hope this article has set the story straight.
As always, feel free to contact me with any Village related questions or concerns.