Last call change still heated debate

Franck wanted to make it clear, after the public hearing, that his mission isn't to hurt business or kill the fun. He addressed opinions that legislation wouldn't solve all the problems

"I'm hearing that positively no legislation would illicit common sense maybe yes, maybe no but we already have legislation, it's 4 a.m., so someone at the state level must have thought it'd make a difference or we'd be open 24 hours," said Franck.

Franck compared the situation to current hot button laws, cell phones and seat belts.

"Not everyone wears a seatbelt but the law is there. Some people still talk on the phone but it's there to make people think twice," said Franck. "I never said this would stop all those problems but I honestly believe it's the first step to reduce and absolutely believe it would reduce injuries, fatalities, etc."

The argument that sales tax revenue would drop dramatically and employees would have to be laid off with a two hour earlier close doesn't make sense, said Franck.

"I don't believe that because you'll be staying open during those peak hours and many bars aren't open at those early hours in the offseason seven nights a week," said Franck. "Do your research before you attack me because I've done my research people ask where are my statistics, well they're right here."

Franck said he would be bringing forth a proposed legislation at the next meeting and hopefully to Mayor Scott Johnson by Friday. The legislation would change last call times at bars in the city from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. starting after Labor Day. This wouldn't affect the region's "tourist season" of between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

"We can at least get votes to forward it to the county to find out if we can do this because there are some questions if we can be separate from the county," said Franck.

From the New York State Liquor Authority, Franck previously said there are 57 counties in New York State and of those, 12 close at 1 a.m., 21 close at 2 a.m., three close at 3 a.m. and 21 close at 4 a.m. He also noted three college towns"Elmira, Geneva and Ithaca"that have some of the earliest closing times in the state at 1 a.m. to prove earlier last calls do exist and work.

The next City Council meeting will be Tuesday, May 25, at 7 p.m.


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