Council debates alcohol slushee machines

TORRINGTON – After expressing some concerns, the Torrington City Council approved a local convenience store’s request to install alcohol slushee machines during a regular meeting Tuesday evening.
Jennifer Tollefson, district manager of Maverik, Inc. (located at 500 East Valley Rd. in Torrington), fielded questions about the location of the machines and the method in which the business plans to seal the slushees or “adult chiller” beverages.
Tollefson explained the machines will be located in Maverik’s dispensing room – designated for the store’s alcohol for purchase. Customers will order the slushees, at which point an employee will make the drink and place a plastic seal over the top and secure the edges with a heat gun. Customers then have to puncture the wrap with a straw to “open” the beverage.
Council members Matt Mattis, Ted Kinney, and Mayor Randy Adams said they worried about the addition increasing drinking-and-driving incidents.
“It’s another way that we make alcohol even more available than it has been before,” Adams said.
“It is a concern,” Kinney said. “We’ve got enough fatalities on our roads without the probability of more.”
Tollefson explained employees at the Torrington location recently completed TIPS training to ensure they are checking identification and selling alcohol to adults only.
“It’s going to be the ultimate responsibility of the purchaser,” Torrington Police Department Chief Timothy Hurd said at the meeting, adding the straw puncture wrap will be prosecuted as an open-container violation if used in a prohibited location. “As long as it’s sealed and sold properly, it’s just a matter of enforcement … bottom line, it’s up to the purchaser to be responsible.”

In other business:
n In response to recent legislation, the city appointed Clerk/Treasurer Lynette Strecker as public record official custodian.
n The third reading of an ordinance allowing chickens within city limits failed unanimously.
n The council approved a request for a conditional use permit from resident Mark Estes with Off the Hook Meat Processing to allow for the processing of domestic animals and storage of large animals in Cold Springs Business Park. Members thanked Estes for investing in the community.
Estes plans to slaughter and process USDA-inspected meat, in addition to custom exempt processing. The meat will then be sold in his retail counter at the business. Estes plans to handle beef, hogs, and sheep. The live animals will only be held a short time before being processed, generally no more than 12 hours, according to a memo sent to the Torrington Planning Commission from Building/Fire/Zoning Official Dennis Estes.
n The city awarded a bid in the amount of $83,500 (with a contingency of $6,500) to Accent Wire-Ties of Tomball, Texas for a bagging system retrofit for the Streets and Sanitation Department’s baler. Funding for the project was budgeted at $90,000.
n Council members approved the third reading of the 2020 fiscal-year budget. Total appropriations are $32,872,828; with $8,470,512 in General Fund requirements; $2,778,802 in sewer fund; $8,286,721 in electric fund; $2,225,786 allotted for the sanitation fund; $3,759,741 in water fund requirements; and $7,351,266 in other fund requirements, including airport, golf course, swimming pool, ambulance, and cemetery. The document reads $295,114 shall be raised by taxation for the current expenses of the General Fund requirements for the … City of Torrington, during the fiscal year commencing July 1, 2019.
“All in all, I think our budget’s in really good shape,” Strecker said and thanked the council for their support.
n In addition, the council passed a resolution as the General Fund received unanticipated revenue ($135,200) and certain budgets will have expenditures in excess of the budgeted amount for the following amendments to the 2019 fiscal year budget: $6,000 for mayor and council training and education; $1,700 for facility maintenance for utility: electric; $10,000 for engineering: plan review; $13,000 for disposal, equipment repair: loader; $5,000, disposal, part-time wages; $71,000, airport runway seal coat project; $19,500, golf course construction, Recreation Board Grant: pergola; $2,500, ambulance, overtime; and $6,500, ambulance, extra principal payment.
n The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 2 at 7 p.m. Torrington City Hall.


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