Nonprofit organizations hosting events in Winona will now be able to obtain a temporary liquor license to serve beer and wine containing more than 3.2 percent alcohol. The Winona City Council voted 6-1 Monday to approve the proposed amendment to the city's code. Mayor Jerry Miller was the lone opposing vote.
The amendment will allow a "club or charitable, religious or nonprofit organization" to obtain a temporary liquor license to serve the higher proof alcoholic beverages. The license could be used for up to four days and will cost the applicant a $54 licensing fee.
Councilwoman Debbie White asked why the city code restricted the sale of higher proof alcohol to, commonly referred to as "strong beer," to nonprofits. Winona City Clerk Monica Hennessey Mohan said she was unsure, noting it was a long-standing city ordinance.
Mayor Miller opposed the amendment, saying it competed too closely with the private sector.
"I think the main opposition to this stems from the businesses that sell the same stuff," he said. "It's an example of the nonprofits competing with the private sector."
However, Hennessey Mohan said the amendment will allow the organizations, previously limited to very few brands of weaker alcoholic beverages, to provide event-goers with a greater variety of drinks.
Eyden sworn in
Before the council meeting began, Pamela Eyden, Third Ward City Council member-elect, was officially sworn in and took her place next to councilman George Borzyskowski. While other newly-elected officials do not begin their terms until January, Eyden agreed to assume duties immediately after the Nov. 6 election to fill the vacancy left after the death of longtime councilwoman Deb Salyards in June.
"I do solemnly swear to support the Constitution of the United States during my continuance in office," Eyden recited. "I am delighted to be here on this council."
In a close race for the empty seat, Eyden defeated Don Salyards, husband of Deb Salyards, by only 32 votes.
Eyden is a current member of the Winona City Planning Commission and is a Winona State University professor in the Recreation, Tourism, and Therapeutic Recreation department.