Social hosting ordinance makes sense

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

The Metamora Village Board has been talking for more than a month about a social hosting ordinance.

This law puts property owners on notice that if they host a party or do not take sufficient steps to prevent underage drinking or drug use they could face some hefty financial liability.

In essence, this particular law would put the responsibility of paying for irresponsible behavior where it belongs — with an irresponsible party, not the taxpayers.

This law makes sense. Property owners or hosts would face paying response costs.

Response costs are broken down as:

• salaries and benefits of law enforcement, code enforcement, fire or other emergency response personnel for the amount of time spent responding to, remaining at or otherwise dealing with an event and the administrative costs.

• the cost of any medical treatment for any responding personnel to an event

• the cost of repair to any village equipment or property damaged due to an event

On top of these costs a fine is also levied.

This is an ordinance some village board members said is being considered by municipalities county-wide.

The illegality of this kind of behavior is already covered under state law.  But, without this type of ordinance the local taxpayers pick up the tab. This ordinance makes sense from a deterrent standpoint, a safety standpoint and a financial standpoint.

With this ordinance any monies collected will stay in the village and not be shared with the county, according to a recent discussion among board members.

The money should stay where the costs are incurred, not shared with the county due to administrative costs.

Some could argue this ordinance is all about money. That would be a weak and cynical argument.

This ordinance is meant to send a message to parents, property owners and young people that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.

A price tag cannot be put on a life — not that of a young person who might drink and drive or drink and be injured at a party or those of the police and other first responders.

This ordinance is not about money. It is about the preservation of and betterment of lives. The board should be applauded for this effort.

Note: The village board tabled action on this ordinance until its next meeting (July 6).