Anyone under the age of 21 has another reason to think twice before drinking alcohol at Lake of the Ozarks. In order to be in sync with state statutes, the Lake Ozark Board of Aldermen updated an ordinance concerning underage drinking during their January meeting.
The board approved a punishment of up to $500 in fines and up to 90 days imprisonment in jail.
The ordinance had not been changed since it was put in place in the 1960s. Under the old ordinance, violators could see up to $50 or $100 in fines and no chance of serving jail time. According to Lake Ozark City Administrator Dave Vandee, this move was simply a step toward bringing ordinances in line with state statutes.
"We were just doing a little house keeping and we realized there were some things added to the state statue that were not in the ordinance since it was done so long ago," Lake Ozark Police Chief Mark Maples said. Maples added that during most of the year, finding minors in possession of alcohol is rare. "We do not have a lot of juvenile crime," he said. He attributed a low population of full time juvenile residents to the low juvenile crime rate.
When summer comes and so do tourists, Maples said that the city will see some underage drinking. "When populations swell we certainly have those occasions when we have minors in possession. That goes with the area and goes with the season," Chief Maples said.
Maples also said that the city plans on updating more ordinances in the near future in order to stay current and in line with state laws.