OMAHA (KPTM) – There were strong opinions about a proposed alcohol ordinance at Tuesday's city council meeting.
Nearly half of the people in city hall were there to weigh in on the pros and cons of the Good Neighbor Liquor Ordinance.
"I picked up 87 alcoholic beverage containers," said a man who supports the ordinance.
A line stretched to the back of the room with community members, neighborhood associations and business owners in favor.
"It's personal for me as a victim of a drunk driver," said Anthony Cato who was nearly paralyzed from being hit by a drunk driver five years ago.
They said a yearly $75 fee to pay for law enforcement and littering is not a lot of money.
"It's just 20 cents a day," said one woman. "We ask churches to step up and help people in the community. We ought to do the same for businesses."
But those in opposition of the ordinance said law enforcement costs should be the city's responsibility, not business owners'.
Dr. Adi Pour from the Douglas County Health Department wants the ordinance to pass because alcohol sales with regulation will help reduce crime, but also other risk factors.
"HIV and STDs, which we know we have an issue now in our community," said Dr. Pour.
Some business owners and organizations said they do not mind the fee, but the overlay zoning—a rule that allows one business, one person, one city council member or one neighborhood association petition against a business that brings nuisances to their area.
"Neighborhood associations, a lot of the time I think, want to be too involved. It's not their job to legislate," said owner of Barrett's Barley Corn, Karen Barrett.
Councilman Ben Gray defended the ordinance.
"Police officers in our police department are not bouncers," Gray continued. "They don't need to go to an establishment periodically. We don't have the manpower to even do that."
But, like the public, council members couldn't reach a unanimous agreement.
Councilman Pete Festersen said he will not support the ordinance because it will stunt business growth he said the city needs.
City council still has to vote on the measure.
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