Janesville City Council to consider permits for alcohol in parks
JANESVILLE Janesville City Council members Monday will decide whether to allow drinking in designated city parks and how much to charge residents to do so.
A public hearing is scheduled at the meeting that begins at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St.
City ordinances have banned alcohol from parks since 1967.
Late last year, the city council included in the 2013 budget $3,000 it expects will be raised from permits purchased to drink in the parks.
Staff recommends a $50 alcohol permit in addition to regular pavilion rent. The permit would allow residents to drink beer and wine in specific pavilions.
A second option to raise $3,000 would be to increase the rent for all pavilions by $25 but allow alcohol only in specific pavilions, according to staff.
Pavilion rents now range from $65 to $115, depending on the capacity of the pavilion.
The proposed ordinance would allow beer and wine at Hilltop Pavilion in Palmer Park, the north and south pavilions in Riverside Park and the Lions Pavilion and the warming house in Traxler Park.
Through the years, various proposals have surfaced to allow drinking in city parks. A proposal failed in 1998. A proposal to change the ordinance was prepared by staff in 2005, but it never advanced to the council.
In 2011, leisure services staff conducted a survey of 18 peer cities about drinking in city parks. All the cities contacted allowed beer in their parks in some capacity. Some cities allowed beer consumption in parks without permits.
Others included the alcohol permit with the pavilion rental. Some included additional permit charges. Some limited beer consumption to select parks.
Allowing alcohol in Janesville parks would provide additional revenue and satisfy a desire by some residents who rent pavilions for family reunions, birthdays and other occasions to serve beer, according to a city memo.
Cons could include increased trash in parks and confusion about where beer might be allowed in designated parks, according to the memo. Also, the suggested 9 p.m. alcohol cutoff might be difficult to enforce because most parks close at 11 p.m.
The policies would be reviewed in two years to see if changes are needed, according to the memo.
ON THE AGENDA
The Janesville City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St.
Items on the agenda include:
-- Action to borrow $200,000 in 2013 to replace turf equipment to maintain the city’s two golf courses. Staff projects the council must borrow $200,000 each year for the next three years to replace equipment and furnishings. That is in addition to the $100,000 the city borrowed in 2011 and $200,000 in 2012.
Debt payments for golf course purposes is $74,740 in 2013. Average annual debt service over the last 10 years has been $84,312. Before 2011, all debt service on debt issued for the golf course was paid by the golf fund from lease payments made by a former management company.
If $200,000 is borrowed in each of the next three years, annual debt service would reach a maximum of $131,021 in 2019 and average almost $100,000 over the next 10 years. That is now paid by the general fund.
Conversely, the city’s operating subsidy is decreasing. In 2011, the general fund subsidy for the golf courses was $143,458, including $28,178 in “city costs” such as a portion for administrative salaries and insurance costs. Assistant City Manager Jay Winzenz estimates that will be about $29,989 in 2013, including about $20,000 in “city costs” for a net total of $9,989.
-- Action to direct staff to apply for a $30,000 National Fish and Wildlife Federation grant to create a concept plan for removing the downtown parking plaza and subsequent redevelopment of the riverfront. The concept plan would enable the city to apply for other grants. The money would pay for a consultant with urban riverfront design experience. The city would match the money.