If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
As reported in last week’s edition, during its July meeting the Rockford Town Council unanimously approved and adopted an ordinance to increase parking fines.
However, that matter was just one of three agenda items for that meeting that pertained to town ordinances. With all council members present, as well as town attorney Tom Young, the council further discussed and reviewed additional existing ordinances.
In addition to unanimously adopting the new ordinance regarding parking fines, the council also unanimously approved a “first view” or first reading of existing ordinances. The ordinances were not read aloud or mentioned specifically, but Mayor Scott White stated that “these are your repealed ordinances.”
“These are ones that date back to 1923,” he said. “These are the ones we’re taking away that aren’t in affect anymore because the state recognizes them.”
Part-time Town Clerk Susan Rogers showed multiple binders that contained the ordinances to be repealed.
White said the council could review “the first few ordinances” in question and then vote to repeal them at the next meeting.
In a separate agenda item, White said they were going to “talk in general about ordinances” and get “some guidance” from Young.
Young said that he had been asked “a lot about ordinances lately,” going on to state that “ordinances are not suggestions.”
“It’s not a suggestion; it is a law,” he said. “It is a rule. I don’t care who lives somewhere. I don’t care how good everybody knows Uncle Joe. It doesn’t make any difference. We’re going to have rules to follow. If they don’t follow the rules then there’s an action; there’s a consequence, and I don’t care how long somebody thinks it’s been alright or cutting a corner. It’s not alright. We set rules because it’s the orderly operation of this town, and that’s what we have to be doing. If we don’t do it, we’re going to cause some consequence to some of our citizens, period. Whether it’s parking, whether it’s sidewalk use, whether it’s whatever it is – I don’t care. If this rule speaks to it, that’s what needs to be abided by.”
Young went to say that if “someone has a problem with that,” the process to follow is to present a suggestion to the Town Council and then determine whether to change the ordinance.
“That’s how you do it; you don’t just ignore it,” Young said.
He added that he “found it interesting” regarding the “sidewalk rule,” stating that 100 years ago, in 1923, “they knew better than to obstruct a sidewalk.”
“They knew better than that 100 years ago,” he said. “Why we’re discussing it 100 years later, I don’t get it, but we are.”
Young went on to explain that if someone does not abide by a town ordinance, then the town arrests them, “short and simple.” He mentioned that the ordinances provide an “orderly flow of operation” and that they do it for the good of the town.
“If you don’t like it, I’m sorry, too bad,” he said. “Change it. But until it’s changed, abide by it.”
White added that the mayor runs day to day operations and that the council “does not have to come and vote on an ordinance that’s already law.”
Following discussion, there was no action taken on the matter as it was for informational purposes only.
In other business, the council discussed a liquor license request from Fuller Rolling Kitchen LLC., doing business as Crossroads. Tom Fuller, owner of Fuller Rolling Kitchen and co-manager of Crossroads, was in attendance for the request and to answer questions from the council.
The restaurant has been selling alcoholic beverages since having the license from Twenty-Two & Crew transferred to Crossroads. However, the new restaurant is now in the process of requesting its own license before the current one expires.
Council members and Young asked numerous questions regarding the business and the alcohol license, including what the restaurant’s hours are, clarifying the business name, the type of license requested, qualifications for the license, and more.
Regarding the license request, Fuller explained that the business is a restaurant serving a beverage and that the license is for on-premise alcohol sales only, adding that it is a restaurant and not a bar.
“It’s Crossroads Restaurant, and we serve alcohol,” Fuller said in discussion.
Young asked if they have customers who come in just to drink, and Fuller said approximately 99% of customers order a drink with a meal, with very few coming in to order only a beer.
In further discussion, Fuller said that the license would only be for on premises and that people could only drink inside the restaurant or on the back patio where there is additional seating, which is an extension of the restaurant.
Fuller also mentioned that there was no difference in this license request compared to what Rockford Deli had applied for in the past.
Councilmember Robert Smith asked if the license required that food sales have to exceed alcohol sales. Young said that for the specific license requested there does have to be a higher percentage of food sold than alcohol sold.
“It would have to be compatible with that license – the license you’re asking for here requires that,” Young said.
Fuller said that the restaurant could pull its inventory and receipts to verify that food sales exceed alcohol sales. Young said that they would need to check how alcohol sales compare to food sales to verify that the restaurant is requesting the correct license.
He went on to say that he would like to have that information available so that the town can ensure it is the proper license for the business. He recommended that the council table the matter until it could get that information to ensure the town is issuing the correct license.
Before taking action on the matter, Councilmember Cordarius Lee asked about the difference between the restaurant selling beer and being a bar, asking to clarify that it only came down to what kind of license they would get.
Young said yes and that the town is looking at it to determine that it is compatible with the town and that the licensing “is proper for the operation of this particular business.”
Following discussion, the council unanimously approved tabling the matter to its next meeting to get information on the sales numbers to ensure the restaurant is applying for the correct license.
In other business, the council also reviewed information regarding the backhoe, which has been discussed for months as shared property between Rockford Utilities Board and the town.
Young stated that information provided to the town was that one-third of the fair market value of the backhoe, which would be the town’s interest, was $1,567. The total appraised value was $4,701, and Young said that he thinks the one-third value accurately represents the portion the town paid for the backhoe, adding that the council would want to be properly compensated for its investments since the town helped pay for it.
After brief discussion the council unanimously approved accepting the payment of $1,567 from the Utilities Board for the backhoe.
Police Chief George Fanning was not present for the meeting, and no monthly police report was given.
This week the Town of Rockford reported that because of a “scheduling conflict” the monthly Town Council meeting will be held a week later than normal. However, instead of being held the following Tuesday, the meeting will instead be held on Monday, August 21, at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.
The rescheduled meeting date and time coincide with the Rockford Utilities Board meeting; however, the board now meets at its new facility at the intersection of U.S. Highway 231 and Circle Drive near Dollar General, so there will not be a conflict in meeting location.