Bars won't close early in Spa City

The proposal to change last call from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. between Labor Day and Memorial Day in Saratoga Springs came up for a vote at the Tuesday, June 15, City Council meeting, and failed.

The topic of much discussion and controversy over the past several weeks, the proposal drawn up by Commissioner of Accounts John Franck saw a 2-2 vote but needed at least three to pass. Franck and Commissioner of Finance Ken Ivins voted yes, while Commissioner of Public Works and Commissioner of Public Safety voted "no." Mayor Scott Johnson abstained from a vote because he said his early original investment in the Circus CafE on Broadway was a conflict of interest.

The proposed legislation would have moved last call up two hours during the "off season" months in an effort to improve safety, cut down on alcohol-related violence and possibly save some finances.

Before the matter came up for vote, the Council heard Police Chief Christopher Cole make his case for why a 3 a.m. proposal, year-round, would be a better route to go. Cole said he had discussed the alternative proposal with Franck, Scirocco and Wirth earlier.

"June, July and August are our busiest and most dangerous times in the city," said Cole.

Cole laid out strategies the police force could explore to make bars in the downtown area comply more with the alcohol control law and could strongly enforce the state law that requires bar employees who spend at least 50 percent of their work time in a security position to acquire a security guard license from the state.

Wirth said if a resolution significantly different than the originally presented one were to come up for vote, the public should be allowed to comment before the council, first.

Scirocco said both proposals gave him concerns about the safety and financial impact of partiers leaving the city late at night to find bars in other towns with later closing times.

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