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Alderman approve permit policy change; looking at changing alcohol ordinance

Organizations wanting to hold a run, march, parade or any event that would require roads to be closed or help from police will have up until 10 days of the event to pay for that assistance.

Last week during a work session, the Oxford Board of Aldermen approved a policy change for the Oxford Police Department that requires organizations to pay for officers to work the event; however, the organization won’t have to pay the entire amount owed until 10 days before the event. Groups can also put down a 25 percent deposit to reserve the police and area where the event will take place.

Each time an event is held on a street that has to be temporarily closed, OPD is on the scene to handle the traffic and provide security. Since it’s often on weekends and extra hands are brought it, that means more overtime pay for officers.

Last fall, OPD started to require groups to pay a fee upfront when they applied for their permit. Local organizations objected, claiming they often don’t bring in money until a month or two before the event through registrations. The fee is based on how many officers are needed and for how long, which averages to about $27 an hour.

City-held events, like the Double Decker 5K and 10K race, would be exempt from paying the fee. If an organization wants to hold a smaller event that doesn’t require OPD to bring in extra police or the closing of roads, there would be no fee.

The policy change goes into effect immediately.

Changing alcohol ordinance

Also during the work session, the aldermen briefly discussed a requested change to city’s alcohol ordinance. City Attorney Pope Mallette explained at some point the ordinance was changed to allow businesses that weren’t restaurants to serve alcohol, free of charge, which is against state law.

“We don’t know when or how it was changed,” Mallette said. “It’s against state law. You can’t dispense alcohol if you’re a business.”

The discrepancy came to light when the Alcohol Beverage Control contacted the city after it received a complaint that a couple of Oxford nail salons were serving free mimosas to customers.

The aldermen heard the first reading during their regular meeting on March 21 but wanted to discuss it and get further clarification during the work session last week.

Businesses can apply to ABC for a permit to serve the alcohol or hire a licensed caterer to serve alcohol.

A public hearing and second reading will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at during the aldermen’s regular meeting at City Hall.