By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
In an effort to make the Yam Theatre a more competitive venue for events, Portales MainStreet officials secured the support of city councilors to apply for a government liquor license.
The Portales City Council voted in favor of Portales MainStreet’s request to obtain a liquor license in a 5-1 vote at its Tuesday night meeting.
Ward A Councilor Antonio Salguero voted against it and councilors Matt Hunton and Keith Thomas were absent.
MainStreet board member Amelia Christensen said she expects the move to attract more Yam rentals because renters are deterred by the process required to be able to serve alcoholic beverages at events.
“I think it would increase the amount of rentals,” Christensen said. “To charge a premium, we do need to offer these services for that. It makes (the Yam Theatre) more competitive.”
On top of rental costs, renters have to hire a vendor with a liquor license to serve alcohol, as well as security and purchase insurance.
Christensen said the city’s license will combine those services.
But the city will not directly provide the services; the city plans to hire a contractor to provide the services.
City Manager Doug Redmond added that this license is specifically for the Yam and no other city-owned buildings or venues in Portales.
Redmond said the city would pay $1,000 for the license and that the city’s separate insurance for the Yam will be covered through rental costs.
Councilors were also concerned about the liability of having alcohol sold at the Yam, with the potential of guests leaving and driving intoxicated, but MainStreet staff said the responsibility will be on the vendor per the way the contract will be written.
City Attorney Steve Doerr the vendor will be obligated to make sure no alcohol from an event leaves the premises.
“It streamlines the process and makes (the Yam Theatre) more available,” City councilor Ronald Jackson.
But not all the councilors were convinced a government liquor license is good for city-owned property such as the Yam.
“I guess I don’t like to see liquor in a public place like the Yam,” said Salguero after the meeting. “I have nothing against liquor, I’m just not sure it should be sold where there’s going to be family. You have to respect that.”