Some additional posts on License Commission behavior...
A few points on the License Commission meeting. Concerns were raised by commissioners about the cost of holding a public hearing to discuss changing the time of the meetings from 3:00 PM on Thursday to 6:30 on Mondays to accommodate public comment. I could probably raise $100.00 to advertise a public meeting so that should not be an obstacle.
Does the police dept. have the budget to have a representative at the meetings if they are held in the evening? Does the city have the budget to make Mr. Wynn available for evening meetings?
Mr. Bayliss suggested Lowell is a destination city and downtown is a business district (it’s actually mostly mixed-use)…that might be true but we will not be able to attract any new businesses unless the City Council, Administration, License Commission work together to determine what the city wants for the downtown area and how to enforce the regulations that are currently in place. In the meantime the police will continue to draw additional dollars from the taxpayers to pay for police officers to control the unruly bar patrons at closing time and therefore the taxpayers are paying a premium to keep a few nightclubs open (an aside…Lu Richards is now the President of CNAG, that is why she appeared at the meeting in lieu of Ann Marie Page).
On Tuesday our city council transferred $100,000.00 dollars (of our hard-earned tax dollars: no to mention the $50,000.00 already spent since May) to cover police over-time (mind I have no complaint with the unfortunate police officers who have to deal with being mace-d, having lit cigarettes thrown at them, and all kinds of ridiculous behavior…at least they are doing the job we pay them to do) in part to cover the issues downtown. As a taxpayer I am compelled to do the math. If our anchor bar has 700 people a night (the number they use in their marketing materials) and each of those patrons spends $20.00 (low low estimate) that is $14,000.00 per night x 4 nights per week (Th-Sun) = $56,000.00 per week x 52 weeks = $2,912,000.00. I have no idea what this business is paying for city taxes but my guess is they are getting a bargain.
There is an argument to be made that if I was paying less city taxes I could spend that money at businesses in my neighborhood (negligible…I personally have no complaints about paying my city taxes considering what I get for my money). I am neither a member of the Tea Party or the Occupy movement; I’m just saying that I think everyone should be able to (encouraged) to come downtown, stay out late and have fun. I’m not worried about leaving a downtown place at 2AM and walking to the diner and walking home at 3AM; my tax dollars are paying all those police officers to take care of me. But I am tired of my friends friend’s saying, “I’m not staying here after 10PM” or hearing from business owners talk about how they have to step across the puddles of pee and vomit to get into their business in the morning (not to mention those whose doors are blocked by hoodlums from getting into their business at night) or have to, yet again, call someone to fix their smashed windows. WHY ON EARTH CAN’T PEOPLE HAVE A FEW DRINKS, LISTEN TO SOME MUSIC, HANG OUT WITH THEIR FREINDS AND NOT FEEL COMPELLED TO DESTROY SOMETHING BEFORE THEY LEAVE?
Solutions: this is a HUGE blank space…I have no specific solution to this problem but I think it is time for the city council in cooperation with city management; License Commission, and other stakeholders to work together and determine how to make this a place we can all enjoy and not let it be overtaken by a few business owners who have no regard for their fellow business owners and certainly no regard for the taxpayers of the city.
Historical reference: Chief Lavallee has been holding meetings with downtown bar owners and residents for several years now…Rob Mills stopped covering the meetings because they were so boring; because we had found a common ground where everyone co-exists. Now we are allowing our “anchor bar” to dictate to the other business owners, residents, police department and all city taxpayers.
Just my opinion and I am sharing because I think this is a much larger issue than just our neighborhood. kmm