The six-member board also discussed mandatory ID checks, alcohol permits for package sales clerks and brew pub regulations during a work session that lasted several hours last week.
Rome artist Melissa Harris inadvertently sparked the lengthy ordinance review when she sought permission to host wine and painting parties at her art gallery.
At issue was the cost of pouring permits — about $1,530 each for beer and wine and $5,360 for liquor — for drinks her customers would bring for themselves.
A majority of the ACC, which is made up of three elected officials and three residents, said they would favor a reduction to the base rate for certain establishments that allowed brown-bagging. That would be $1,060 each for beer and wine permits and $2,990 for liquor.
City Commissioner Sue Lee, who chairs the ACC, argued for much lower prices, since Harris wouldn’t be selling the alcohol. But a majority of the ACC considered it a cost of doing business.
“I’m a firm believer she’s going to make money on this. That’s why she wants to do it,” citizen-member Mike Hyde said.
The price of a permit is pro-rated, member George Kastanias noted, so Harris could pay for a half-year to see if it’s a good investment. Beauty salons and other businesses where alcohol is not sold also could take advantage of the option.
“I’m not expecting a lot of businesses to do this, because of the cost of insurance and liability,” said City Commissioner Bill Collins, another ACC member. “But I think this is an opportunity for Rome to grow and be part of the in-crowd.”
Collins also pushed for an ordinance requiring mandatory ID checks on everyone who buys alcohol, regardless of age, and City Commissioner Buzz Wachsteter backed him.
But other ACC members took note of Police Chief Elaine Snow’s concerns about enforcement, and said it could be considered interfering with business owners’ policy decisions.
“I just see Big Brother,” Jane Slickman said.
It’s likely, however, that the ACC may require all clerks who ring up alcohol sales to obtain the same $25 permits as restaurant servers.
Snow said she would have to add a full-time position to keep up with the background checks, but the cost may be offset by the permit fees.
Further discussion is planned at the board’s Aug. 20 meeting, set for 5 p.m. at City Hall, 601 Broad St. The sessions are open to the public.