The Lake Ozark Board of Aldermen will allow open containers on the Strip and save the Shootout Meet and Greet for the city but only if someone else will bear the burden.
The board is requiring that all eight bar owners on the Strip sign off on a $1,000 deposit and subject themselves to amorphous law-enforcement fees before they will vote on relaxing the open-container law for the event. If the bar owners go for it, they will be charged for the police doing the job taxpayers already pay them to do. What a deal.
Still, if anticipated revenue outweighs the fees sufficiently, the bar owners may well save the event for Lake Ozark and that would be great.
If they do not, we will fully understand.
The board has tied a Gordian knot that allows them to appear ready to keep the Shootout event in town but absolves them of all responsibility, even the normal municipal responsibility for police protection.
The majority of the board did not even have the courage of their past convictions when they have steadfastly refused to allow open containers on the Strip. A consistent response, even in the face of losing so beneficial an event as the Shootout Meet and Greet, would have at least been admirable. This tricky half a loaf does the board no credit at all. It only indicates that if event organizers can put together a sufficient bluff the board will fold halfway.
If the bar owners step up and do what the board will not, they, not the board, will be the heroes of the situation. They will have acted to underwrite a community activity and should then be absolutely able to go to the board at any time and, with 100 percent participation, request open-container permits for any event.