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Wausau tavern owners discuss concerns about sober server ordinance Monday Night


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Local tavern and restaurant owners got a lot of questions about the new Wausau sober server ordinance last night.

Wausau city leaders sat down Monday night to talk over the new ordinance after a contentious passage of the measure earlier this month. Marathon County Tavern League president Tim Thomas says his members got a lot of good information at the meeting. "They answered as far as if there'd be an actual arrest or a citation. And with that being a citation, helps a lot, it eases a lot of people's minds."

Police chief Jeff Hardel assured tavern owners that his officers wouldn't be randomly going into bars to check to see if bartenders are intoxicated. "That's something that might be investigated if we're out for a service call or during a compliance check." Assistant city attorney Tara Alfonso says that unless a bartender gives the officers another reason to arrest them that would violate state statutes, they would just be given a citation for city court.

The information and questions gathered at tonight's meeting will head to next week's public safety committee meeting for further review of the ordinance. Thomas says he's sure a resolution can be reached. "Working with the city council and the public safety commission, I think we can get a lot of this resolved and make it work out."

City Council President Lisa Rasmussen says they will take a look at the BAC levels set in the ordinance. "When we overturned the veto, I promised everyone in the room that we would have a discussion about what the appropriate level of blood alcohol content should be and I intend to follow through on that."

That meeting is set for February 17 at 5:15pm at City Hall.