Voters to decide if alcohol allowed at Geronimo events - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Voters to decide if alcohol allowed at Geronimo events

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

GERONIMO, OK (KSWO) - Voters in Geronimo will head to the polls April 4th to vote on making a change to a city ordinance that city officials say could bring in thousands of dollars in extra revenue, particularly benefiting one of the city's annual events for its volunteer fire department. 

The ordinance currently prevents the sale of alcohol at any events on city property. Every year, the town has a big birthday celebration to raise money for its volunteer fire department. In 2016, a vendor offered $2,500 in donations to the department, plus whatever profit they made to sell alcohol at the event, but because of the ordinance, they had to turn down the offer.

The issue was brought to the Geronimo City Council for a vote. At most Geronimo City Council meetings, there are usually only a few people in attendance, but for this particular one roughly 25 people showed up, 20 of whom were in favor of changing the ordinance. Ultimately the council said they did not think that was an accurate representation of the population so they decided to put it on the ballot to let voters decide.

Geronimo Mayor Kevin Bayman said he doesn't think the city is in any position to be turning down money to help its fire department.

"Without the funding from the celebration that we have, our fire department would not be near what it has the capabilities to be,” Bayman said. “With that being said, any kind of funds that we can increase their capabilities, I want to try to do that to the best of my ability."

Bayman said the added funds to the fire department would be great and would help them purchase necessary equipment, but adding alcohol sales would also make their yearly event more diverse.

"It's an opportunity to have a couple beers if you want to have a few beers with your friends and family and enjoy your time out in a safe and controlled environment,” Bayman said. “It will still allow the families that would prefer to not have that kind of participation. There's plenty of other things they can do."

Bayman said there is some concern about safety if alcohol is sold at the event, but he said they have already started working on that and have proposed having one area sectioned off to sell beer, with no one being allowed to take drinks in or out of the area.

"This is a family event and were very proud of having our celebration, it's very family friendly and no laws will be put aside. There's still not public intoxication and drunk driving will not be tolerated,” Bayman said.

As election day approaches, Bayman said he recommends everyone, for or against the change, head to the polls.

"The people's voice need to be heard and if they're not involved, it makes it very difficult to try to make decisions in their best interest if you don't hear what they want,” Bayman said.

The ordinance change could also impact events other than their yearly celebration, though allowing alcohol sales at an event would need to be passed by the city council on a case-by-case basis.

Election day is Tuesday, April 4th. The proposal to change the city ordinance will need a super-majority of 60 percent to pass.

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