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City, state partnership aims to improve East St. Louis liquor license monitoring

The pilot program only covers the City of East St. Louis, not unincorporated areas.
Heather Anne Campbell | Flickr

A pilot program between East St. Louis and the state of Illinois is expected to streamline the inspection process for more than 50 retailers in the city who hold liquor licenses. The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is training local officials to make sure the businesses are following state and local laws.

The East St. Louis Liquor Inspection Pilot Program was unveiled over the past week. The state is helping to pay for training what it calls "designated local inspectors."

City and state inspectors had been carrying out the checkups, causing confusion and overlap.

"Before we could pick and choose and do them at random and all of that other stuff, but we didn't always hit every one," said East St. Louis Deputy Liquor Commissioner Hope Whitehead.

"But this will allow us to talk with the licensee and make sure that all of their compliances are in order. And that could only increase public safety."

The inspectors now have one list of areas to inspect including:

  • Health and Sanitation
  • License Verification
  • Insurance Verification
  • Deceptive Practices

The initiative should help ease a strain on city and state resources, while helping business owners better respond to concerns that could be raised during an inspection.

"The city and the state are collaborating and doing one inspection. And the inspection is thorough," Whitehead said.

"But more importantly, it has the city and the state communicating on all of this."

The businesses would still be subject to city penalties if any violations are found. The local officials have to report findings to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission for possible further action.

The pilot program is slated to run through June, but Whitehead is hoping there is a way to have it continue beyond that point.

Follow Wayne Pratt on Twitter: @WayneRadio

Wayne is the morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.