The Idaho Falls City Council is planning to change the city code’s requirements for retail alcohol license applicants.
The proposed city code amendment is meant to speed up the alcohol licensing process, which businesses often complain is too slow. It also will clarify prerequisites for applicants, who must be licensed by the state, county and city to legally serve beer, wine and liquor.
City Council president Thomas Hally said the amendment will standardize the licensing process and “make things equal in different parts of the state.”
The proposed amendment would change three things.
First, it would require applicants to obtain county and state licenses prior to applying for a city license.
Second, it would align the city’s licensing calendar to coincide with county and state licensing requirements.
Third, it would allow the city clerk to grant licenses, which the City Council would then ratify. Currently, alcohol licenses are issued by the council during regular meetings or work sessions.
Giving the city clerk the power to grant licenses will speed up the licensing process, Hally said.
“What we want to do is improve the city (license) by having it be administratively approved, rather than going to the council, which can take a couple weeks,” he said.
Additionally, the city clerk, armed with more efficient data (thanks to the standardized application that will meet state and county requirements before reaching the city clerk’s desk), will be better suited to judge an application.
“In the past we’ve approved (licenses) on the consent agenda without diving into the background checks,” Hally said.
The City Council likely will approve the amendment at its Thursday meeting.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any controversy over this,” Hally said.