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September 20, 2020
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New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park

By: Joshua Farestveit-Moore
March 1, 2019

Serving alcohol in Rohnert Park just got a little more expensive Tuesday evening when the city council introduced a new fee and penalty structure for alcoholic beverage establishments. 

The new rules will put in place an annual charge for alcohol licenses within the city, penalties for a failure to comply with the existing municipal code, and help compensate for new service training mandated by California’s state government. It comes out to $250 across the board. This will, of course, be separate from the fees charged by the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) agency for new licenses, which can rise upwards of $13,800. 

“It seemed like back in 2007 when we first did this we had people here talking,” Councilmember Pam Stafford said. “We don’t have anyone here today, so maybe we do need to put some teeth into it—make people aware of what we’re asking them to do.”

These changes are all born from a law passed by California’s government back in 2017. The Responsible Service Training Act mandates that all alcohol service workers are required to attend a training seminar within 60 days of employment. The seminar helps familiarize workers with the local municipal codes, spot counterfeit identification and establish safe liquor serving practices. The training act goes into effect in 2021. 

In bureaucracy time that’s practically tomorrow. Unfortunately, while the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department is in full compliance, many of the businesses within the city are decidedly not. The last sting operation the department ran with a borrowed (ids) intrusion detection system that resulted in a 75 percent failure rate, according to the presentation made at the city council. 

That’s kind of a surprise given the public safety department set the bar as low as it possibly could. The ids were of women of different ethnicities and much a greater age than the minors that used them. The sting should’ve been obvious, but such miserable compliance shows a wanton disregard for everything on an id but the age. 

The solution would typically be education, yet many businesses have simply ignored the law requiring employees attend the training seminar. 

“We’re not seeing the compliance we want,” Commander Mike Bates said. “When Sergeant Ashley and his team goes out to do these inspections they ask to see the course completion cards. The majority of the time they’re finding employees are not compliant with the regulation.”

The Rohnert Park City Council unanimously approved the new ordinance. The new fee and penalty structure will go into effect immediately.