Ordinance would create demerit system for bars

Bar owner wants open dialogue about how to prevent incidents

Published On: Sep 26 2013 07:21:07 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 26 2013 09:16:19 PM CDT
TOWN OF MILTON, Wis. -

A shooting outside a Rock County bar could lead to a new ordinance that could impact liquor licenses for bars in the town of Milton with a possible demerit system.

Rich Erdman, the owner of the Countryside Inn, said before the shooting in their parking lot in June, there haven't been any incidents inside or outside their bar.

"It's tragic. But to have one occurrence like that change the laws when it may have been a fluke verses something that's never happened in all the years we've been here seems really extreme," said Erdman.

Erdman and his wife have owned the Countryside Inn for about seven years.

He said authorities have expressed concern about the hip-hop parties they've hosted there. They've hosted hip-hop events since the one in June and he said nothing like that has happened since then.

According to the Janesville Gazette, the sheriff's office is encouraging the town of Milton Police Department to create a demerit system. Bars that accumulate points can face losing their liquor license.

Erdman said he wants to have a more open dialogue with local authorities to strategize how to prevent further incidents.

"I've held up my hand asking for more advice or to have them work with me, and I'm waiting for that to happen. It hasn't happened. I think they're approach has been let's just shut it down rather than deal with it and I think that's the wrong approach. That won't only impact me but the other bars in the area,” said Erdman.

Before they considered hosting the group, Erdman said they talked to the promoter and checked his references.
He describes the crowd at the parties as upscale folks just looking for a place to dance.
The Countryside Inn hosts a variety of events from weddings to concerts. Erdman said it's their standard procedure to hire additional security when they are hosting an event.

The town board is expected to discuss a possible ordinance at their meeting on Oct. 14.

Bryan Meyer, the Milton Town Board chairman, said they are considering a system similar to what the town of Fulton and cities of Janesville and Madison use.

The Milton police chief is expected to present a draft of the ordinance at the next board meeting, but they are not expected to vote on it.