Superior’s City Council approved speeding up the process to issue tavern operator licenses in the city.

Councilors amended the city's alcohol beverage ordinance June 16 to allow the city clerk to issue the license without waiting for council approval. A change in state law allows governing bodies to designate a department to issue the license without having to go before the governing body to get the OK.

That eliminates the need to wait two or three weeks until the council meets and approves the licenses before they are issued.

“It’s just a time saver,” said City Clerk Terri Kalan.

Before a license is issued, the license applications would still go to the police department for background checks and approval, Kalan said. In cases where the police department denies approval of the license, the applicant would be able to appeal the decision with the License and Fees Committee.

“Could a councilor call for it to be reviewed?” Mayor Jim Paine asked.

“They could, but I’ve never seen that happen,” Kalan said. She said it’s rare for the License and Fees Committee to hold a hearing on a license that’s been denied.

Most often, drug-related convictions prompt the police department to deny a license, Kalan said.

State law allows municipalities to deny a license for misdemeanor and felony convictions that are substantially related to the work for which the license is issued, said Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander. He said it is very rare that a license is denied, and he's only denied one or two for drug-related convictions and one or two for habitual offenders — those with multiple convictions — in the five years he's been police chief.

The licenses run July 1 through the end of June the following year, so the city is in the process of renewing almost 800 tavern operator licenses, Kalan said. The licenses are issued for two years. By eliminating council approval, she said city staff can just run the licenses when they have time and get them in the mail.

“Somebody could still work as a bartender as long as they have somebody licensed there with them,” Kalan said. “So it doesn’t necessarily prevent someone from working. They just can’t work by themselves.”

This story was updated at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 18, to include comments from Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander. It originally posted at 1 p.m. June 18.