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updated: 2/19/2013 5:31 AM

Arlington Heights reviews liquor license training

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Arlington Heights is considering several measures that would tighten restrictions related to liquor licenses and training to serve alcohol.

On Monday, the Arlington Heights village board tabled a decision about amending an ordinance in a way that would in part prohibit people from receiving their Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training, or BASSET, certification through online courses. Several trustees said they would like to get input from the business community and get more information from the staff before voting on the measure.

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The proposed ordinance would also outline that anyone serving or selling must be BASSET-certified, while under the current code only the manager is required to be certified in grocery stores, packaged liquor establishments, the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre and wine cafes.

The ordinance would also shorten the amount of time new employees have to complete the BASSET program from 90 days to 30 days.

The ordinance came to the board after Mayor Arlene Mulder, who also acts as the liquor commissioner, said she often saw that businesses with liquor code violations had allowed employees to receive their training online or had not gone through proper training.

"With the online classes there's just no way to know if it was really the people answering all the questions or if they retained any of the information," Mulder said.

More than 100 businesses have liquor licenses in the village, officials said.

The village staff said online courses range from $15 to $40 while the in-person classes range from $30 to $50 for what is often a four-hour class. Online courses expire every three years, while in-person courses do not expire.

Some trustees were still skeptical of the changes.

"We don't even know the impact of this yet," said Trustee John Scaletta, who proposed strongly suggesting but not requiring in-person BASSET training. "It looks like we're making a lot of changes all at one time."

Another section of the proposed ordinance change addresses special events in the village such as Taste of Arlington, Frontier Days and the Mane Event, where police said there can be problems because mainly volunteers are the ones serving alcohol, often without enough BASSET-trained supervisors.

"Quite frankly, anything would be better than what we're doing now," said police Capt. Richard Niedrich. "There's just not enough oversight of the process with that amount of people."

Trustees suggested holding training courses at village hall before such events, but they were concerned about making it too hard to get volunteers.

Moving forward, the village staff will get in touch with liquor licensees in the village and discuss the possible changes before bringing back the ordinance, with any revisions, to the board later this spring.

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