A majority of the six-member board indicated Monday they didn’t think the ID cards acted as a deterrent, and they don’t think it’s fair to demand registration from wait staff but not from store clerks.
“I think we’re going about it the wrong way,” said ACC member and City Commissioner Buzz Wachsteter. “We need to stiffen the penalties (to) make them think twice.”
A special session is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 10. The board — comprised of three elected officials and three city residents — hopes to quiz industry representatives and legal staff about options.
Members have expressed frustration that employees who make underage sales typically face lighter sanctions than owners of the businesses, even when the businesses have extensive training and oversight programs.
“A monetary fine is what’s going to affect people who actively sell to minors,” said member George Kastanias, a longtime restaurateur.
Members Jane Slickman, Mike Hyde and City Commissioner Sue Lee, who chairs the ACC, agreed. City Commissioner Bill Collins argued that many cities have modeled their ordinances after Rome’s and the IDs should be maintained.
A compromise was the work session to sift through potential penalties. City Manager John Bennett noted that it’s also illegal for minors to buy or possess alcohol but they are rarely charged.
“We need to be making a case against them too,” he suggested.
In other actions Monday, the ACC granted beer, wine and liquor pouring licenses for The Partridge restaurant at 330 Broad St.
Owner Ricky Patterson said he may not offer liquor, but the lack of alcohol lost him 60 to 70 customers during the Rome International Film Festival alone. It will likely take him about a month to get his state license and stock up, he said.
Lauren Bowling also got beer and wine pouring licenses for her new Triple Threat Arts Co. dinner theater at Mount Berry Square mall.
Bowling said she’s remodeling the former furniture store near Sears. The venue will open Nov. 2, 3 and 4 with Pamela Parker’s “Second Samuel,” a Pulitzer-nominated comedy set in 1940s Georgia.