If not for a local restaurant owner, there wouldn’t have been much of a January Burnside City Council meeting.

“The only town on Lake Cumberland” kicked off 2010 with a blank space in the “new business” docket, and offered up only a first reading for an ordinance dealing with nuisance signage — any action that would be taken on it will have to be saved for the next meeting.

However, during the “comments from the floor” time at the meeting’s end, Bob Leidelmeijer, proprietor of Sully’s, a sports bar-esque eatery in the Stonebrook Pavilion commercial complex, put a little meat on the bones of the year’s first council meeting.

Leidelmeijer specifically had a few questions and concerns about city policy regarding payments of his taxes and fairness in business practices. Leidelmeijer met with a cooperative city council, though one point could still prove controversial: potential Sunday alcohol sales.

As part of the laws drawn up in the wake of the historic 2004 restaurant referendum, which allowed alcohol sales by the drink in Burnside for the first time since the prohibition era, Burnside opted to take the path of many other communities in disallowing drink sales on Sundays — and of course, Sunday is considered by most Christians to be the Sabbath. Historically, some religious groups nationally have been uncomfortable with the idea of alcohol consumption on a holy day, and prohibiting business of that sort on Sunday has been a measure governments have taken to make “wet” or “moist” status more palatable for those with anti-alcohol beliefs.

However, Sunday is also a day for football — specifically the NFL, many fans of which like to gather at restaurants like Sully’s and have a beer while they watch the game. Leidelmeijer told the council that he’s spent a lot of money to get NFL game packages in his restaurant, and customers have told him that they’d enjoy being have to have an adult beverage with their meal while viewing the gridiron action on one of the restaurant’s multiple televisions.

The effect on Leidelmeijer’s business has been noticeable. Sully’s is open for a few hours on Sunday afternoon for anyone wanting to enjoy a post-church meal, but Leidelmeijer said he typically only does about $300 of business on those days — barely making it worth the cost of opening during that time. On days during which Sully’s is allowed to serve alcohol, business is much better, Leidelmeijer suggested.

Leidelmeijer simply asked the council to “consider” changing the city’s alcohol ordinance to allow a brief window during which customers could buy drinks — perhaps until 6 or 7 p.m., which would cover the duration of the majority of NFL games. Restaurants in Burnside are allowed to stay open until midnight typically, allowing for an active night life, and Leidelmeijer made it clear he wasn’t suggesting that be the case on Sunday.

No decisions were made by the council, nor were any definitive statements offered by specific members, regarding Leidelmeijer’s request. Whether any action would be taken — or any official discussion held — at any point in the future is still unknown, but the general tone of the council seemed to suggest it might be something that would at least be looked into, to examine possible positive and negative effects.

“It’s just something to consider in the near future,” said Leidelmeijer. “Just open it up in baby steps, and see how it goes.”

Most of Leidelmeijer’s other issues had to do with policies that Burnside already has in place, or has intended to enact at some point down the line. One change, however, came after Leidelmeijer noted that the date schedule to pay certain taxes for his business (Burnside restaurants are subject to both food and alcohol taxes) is set on the 20th of each month, although sometimes that falls on a weekend or holiday, or city clerk Amy Mink may not be available in the office that day. Technically speaking, if someone was unable to pay their taxes that day and had to do so on the next possible occasion, it would be considered a late payment.

As such, the council opted to insert language into the ordinance stating that taxes will be due for restaurant owners on the 20th or the next business day, allowing for a slight grace period if the scheduled date falls on an inopportune.

If Mink isn’t in the office, restaurant owners can bring their taxes to the Burnside Water offices and leave them with city personnel there.

In other Burnside City Council business:

• The ordinance regarding signs within the city of Burnside repeals the prior law, which has been in place for a number of years. Specifically, ordinance 920.31 would regulate smaller temporary signs, such as political ads, yard sale notices, and the like, and dictate a certain amount of time that they could stay up. It would also require those putting up billboards or larger signage to seek a permit to do so.

Mayor Chuck Fourman told the Commonwealth Journal that some signs around town have “been up for too long,” necessitating tighter control over their placement. The previous city council had sought to change the ordinance, but had essentially left the issue sitting without taking a vote on an ordinance.

No action was taken on the new ordinance because it was a first reading.

Councilor Jim Rasnick was absent from the meeting.

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