Town of Breckenridge seeks liquor license board members
BRECKENRIDGE – When Breckenridge Town Clerk Mary Jean Loufek asked the town council to review a liquor license application earlier this year, she didn’t think she wouldn’t be able to get a quorum to vote on the issue.
The majority of council members had conflicts of interest and had to recuse themselves from discussion.
Mayor Sam Mamula’s son, Eric, owns Downstairs at Eric’s, a popular pizza joint and bar. Councilmember J.B. Katz is a manager at Fatty’s Pizzeria, in which Councilmember Ernie Blake also holds a financial interest. And although Michael Bertaux is a lift manager at Breckenridge Ski Resort – a position that has nothing to do with liquor licenses – the ski company owns a variety of eating and drinking establishments around town.
That left councilmembers Larry Crispell, Jim Lamb and Dave Hinton – whose last day on the council was July 8 – to discuss and decide the fate of liquor license applicants.
The council since has decided to create a liquor licensing authority, and it is seeking volunteers to serve on the new board.
The conflict of interest dilemma concerns council members because in recent years, the council has had to make some tough decisions regarding liquor licenses in town. Recent alcohol stings revealed that some bartenders were serving underage customers, food wasn’t being served as required by law, and loud music was disturbing neighbors.
Council members didn’t want to put restaurants and bars out of business by revoking or suspending their liquor licenses, but they also realize they – and the license holders – have to abide by the state laws.
The Breckenridge Town Council has always erred on the side of caution when determining if a council member might have a conflict of interest in any item the council is considering. In some instances, members have discussed at length a councilmember’s potential conflict – and many times, even the possibility that the public might have the perception that a conflict of interest exists.
The Breckenridge Liquor License Authority will comprise five members, one of whom will be a town council member. The remaining four members must be Breckenridge residents and voters. Initially, members will serve two- and four-year terms in office and will meet once a month.
Applicants or members of their immediate families cannot have an interest in a business in town that holds a liquor license.
Interested applicants must submit letters describing their interest and outlining their background to Town Clerk, Town of Breckenridge, P.O. Box 168, Breckenridge, CO 80424, fax their letters to (970) 547-3104 or drop them off at the clerk’s office at the town hall at 150 Ski Hill Road.
The deadline has been extended to 5 p.m. Monday, July 14.
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