Town of Jackson cleans up its act

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Town officials took action yesterday on two measures meant to “clean up our act” in Jackson.

Matt Stech, with the Prevention Management Organization of Wyoming, has been pushing for tighter controls on underage alcohol service and consumption. With the help of Police Chief Todd Smith and Jim Waldrop, GM of The Wort, Stech brought a proposed ordinance amendment before the town council Monday. It passed first reading.

The new ordinance would stiffen penalties for liquor license holders caught serving to minors, especially if violations are habitual. The amended ordinance also requires TIPS training, provides for license suspension in addition to revocation, and would suspend a liquor license for 150 days of any establishment viewed as a chronic offender.

Stech says, alcohol is a factor in 87 percent of all crime committed in Teton County. DUI arrests account for half of all arrests in the county, and public intoxication arrests run about 25 percent of total arrests. With many social services agencies facing cuts, it makes tougher liquor laws not only critical but mandatory, Stech adds.

Smith admitted his department could check on only about 60 of the estimated 80 or so establishments in town that serve alcohol due to budget constraints. These compliance checks are announced ahead of time and conducted four times a year. Previously, the department could only conduct the compliance check twice a year.

Councilman Jim Stanford called the new rules, “fair but firm.”

Going smoke-free

After a unanimous endorsement from the Parks and Rec advisory board, a resolution related to Clean Air in Parks and on Pathways was passed Monday night by the town council. The edict would provide for a smoke-free environment in town parks and pathways.

The policy resolution is similar to the one enacted for “idle free” and will be used as a first step to educate the community. Signage will be added at various locations in town.

Councilors passed the measure on a 4-1 vote with Bob Lenz opposed.

“It’s just another rule. It’s just another sign. It’s unnecessary,” Lenz said. “There is plenty of wind out there. Let the wind blow it away.”

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