May 13, 2004

City Council Refuses To Grant Permission for July 3rd Party

A proposal for an outdoor party at a local bar was shot down by the Memphis City Council at the May 5 meeting.

The Board of Aldermen voted 3-1 to reject the request by Shelly Boyer to host an outdoor party at Shelly B’s on July 3rd to celebrate the Independence Day holiday.

The proprietor had requested written permission from the city to host the event. She stated the liquor control department had stipulated that a fence be installed around the property. The adjustment to the liquor license to allow sales “outside” of the existing property required council approval.

She noted that noise ordinances should not be a problem as there are no residences in close proximity to the business. Boyer noted that a band would be playing but would only be providing music from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Alderman Mike Stone raised the issue of the number of conflicts that had occurred at the establishment recently.

Alderman Ron Gardner asked Boyer how many fights had occurred at the bar in the past six months.

There was some discussion regarding the number of instances at the bar and outside the facility, in addition to the handling of the problems.

“I’m concerned when you move something like this outside and you have a large volume of people how you can control the situations,” Gardner said.

Boyer indicated she had additional security lined up for the party and noted that a temporary fence would be installed around the property to control the flow of customers in and out of the party.

Alderman Lucas Remley pointed out that liquor is served in bars and that there are occasionally altercations in such situations. He stated he saw no reason not to allow the bar to host the July 3rd party.

He moved the issue to a vote. Gardner seconded the motion for discussion but when a vote was called the council voted 3-1 against the proposal. Remley voted in favor of the issue while Stone, Gardner and Teresa Skinner entered no votes.

In later action the council approved an amendment to the city’s liquor license statutes.

A state law change made it necessary to transition the liquor license from 3/2 alcohol to five percent.

Alderman Gardner spoke on the law change pointing out that it had snuck up on many cities and retailers alike. Because of the law change, the 3/2 beverages were becoming hard to come by as the bulk of businesses switched to the five-percent beer as allowed by the new law.

The council voted 3-0 to repeal the existing statute and replace it with a new statute allowing the sale of five-percent beer. The new statute also raised the cost of a liquor license from $37.50 to $75.

Skate Park

Beverly Talbert was present at the meeting and during the public participation portion of the agenda she asked about the city’s past work on a skateboard park.

Mayor Ron Alexander questioned the commitment to such a facility, pointing out that the Antique Fair Committee had closed one side of the city square on several nights to host skaters. He noted that a maximum of four skaters attended the evening sessions causing the group to quit hosting the events.

“Thousands of people supposedly wanted this skate park, but when these folks went to the trouble to provide a place to skate there wasn’t very much participation.”

Alderman Remley pointed out the difference between a flat public street and the proposed ramps, jumps and other highlights.

He stated he had passed the skate park in Ottumwa, IA, which seemed to receive regular use.

“The question boils down to how many people really want this thing,” Alexander said. “As a city we have to make our dollars go the farthest. If we spent $60,000 on a park that five or six people would use, this council would get hung by the voters.”

The council also discussed the liability issues a city-owned skate park would create.

The discussion concluded with the council asking Talbert to gather more public input on the topic with some form of measurable number of prospective users.

Boat Motors

The council voted 4-0 to repeal the city ordinance limiting boat motors to 40 horsepower or less at Lake ShowMe. Superintendent Dennis Howard noted that the city had moved to a “no-wake” limit at the lake but had never officially repealed the horsepower limit.

Street Corners

Superintendent Roy Monroe presented a bid from W.L. Miller for resurfacing three of the four intersections on the Memphis square.

In April, Monroe had submitted an estimate of $6,600 to replace the troublesome streets with concrete.

The May bid from Miller was for asphalt resurfacing, installation and milling of the old surface. The cost would be $8,251.80 for 2-inch thick asphalt on 2,760 square feet.

Monroe pointed out the project would likely cost about $1,000 more than the bid figure as the company measured differently. The project would actually replace roughly 3,300 square feet.

The council discussed the two options and questioned the patchwork appearance that would be created by replacing part of the asphalt streets with concrete. They also noted that the concrete bid was just materials and that the street department was going to be busy finishing the swimming pool.

The council voted 4-0 to proceed with the bid from W. L. Miller to replace the intersections with asphalt.

Monroe said the project would likely get done later this summer as the company would be working on Highway 81 south of Kahoka and would them move to Memphis for the job.


The council voted 4-0 to appropriate $15,000 to purchase a new software package for the city office. The programs would manage the general ledger, payroll and other city programs and could be expanded with added modules to handle tax collection, utilities and other accounts.

A May 17 demonstration has been planned at City Hall for the proposed system. Alderman Gardner reported that several other local municipalities have the software package and gave it good reviews. He noted it is a preferable system and also costs about half as much as the other software packages.

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