SWEETWATER COUNTY — The Sweetwater County Commissioners unanimously approved a retail liquor license for Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores during their meeting Tuesday morning.
The county has a total of 14 retail liquor licenses and 11 of those are being used, including Love’s. There are three additional licenses still available, according to Sweetwater County Clerk Cindy Lane.
Lane said the number of licenses is based on the latest census. A retail liquor license allows for the sale of both malt beverages and hard liquor.
The liquor license for Love’s Travel Stop will be effective through April 9, 2021, in which all liquor licenses in the county will be up for renewal.
The issue of locally owned business versus national chains was brought into discussion when deciding if the commissioners should approve the license or not.
During the public hearing, Sweetwater County resident Matt Beach said he was against the liquor license, as he believed those should go to locally owned businesses. He said that Love’s Travel Stop would not fail if they did not secure the license, whereas a local business may fail without one.
Commissioner Roy Lloyd said he saw both sides, as he does believe in supporting local business, but he also sees the value in approving the liquor license to promote economic growth and development.
Commissioner Jeff Smith said the commission has never denied a liquor license before and that there isn’t any standard to deny Love’s Travel Stop the license now.
He added that the liquor license will be up for renewal on April 9, 2021, just as all the county liquor licenses will be. Therefore, they can revisit the issue then if county residents raise more concerns.
Commissioner Lauren Schoenfeld said she wants to support local business, but that Love’s Travel Stop will be beneficial to the county through employment, services, and tax revenue. She said denying the license could discourage businesses from moving in or starting in Sweetwater County.
Chairman Randy “Doc” Wendling agreed, saying Love’s and other national businesses will bring in business, provide jobs, and could in turn increase the county population which could increase the number of liquor licenses in Sweetwater County.
Wendling said Sweewater County should not be denying economic development.
The commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the liquor license.
Love’s Travel Stop will be opening on January 20, 2021, according to Lane.
Commissioner Randy “Doc” Wendling was re-selected as Chairman of the Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners. This is Wendling’s second consecutive year serving as Chairman.
This was Commissioner Mary Thoman’s first meeting. She was sworn into office Monday morning, along with incumbent Commissioner Lauren Schoenfeld.
The Commissioners also voted unanimously to appoint Robert Dean Martin to fill a three-year term on the Solid Waste Disposal District No. 2 Board. This solid waste district is located in Bairoil and Wamsutter. Martin is filling Craig Davidson’s term, as he passed away. The term lasts through July 1, 2023.
The Green River Star was designated as the Newspaper of Record for the County Commission for 2021 in a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Smith was the no vote.