Council Approves Motion Seeking to Reduce Liquor License Fees

The City Council unanimously approved a motion by Council President Patrick Keefe that Mayor Brian Arrigo request the License Commission to reduce restaurants’ liquor license fees by 50 percent due to the loss of business caused by COVID-19.

Keefe deferred to Licensing Commission Chair Robert Selevitch for his opening remarks on the proposal.

“I just want to let you know that there has been some discussion with the members of the Licensing Commission and Mayor Brian Arrigo “to mitigate some of the fees that have been incurred by licensees who have been forced to close during COVID-19.”

Selevitch said one of the ideas that has been floated to reduce the license fees “by more than 50 percent.”

“The fees would be pro-rated based on the cost of the fee and the per-day cost,” said Selevitch. “What that would turn out to be was that for people who had paid in 2019 a liquor license of $3,000 – if they had been ordered to close for eight or nine months, that’s going to round out to about a $2,000 rebate based on an $8.22 per day cost. That rebate would be applied to next year’s license.”

President Keefe said he was pleased that his proposal for a reduction in restaurants’ on-premise liquor license fees “has opened the door to this conversation [by the Licensing Commission].”

“Thank you for starting that topic,” Keefe said to Selevitch.

The Council also approved Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky’s measure to reduce the license fees paid by owners of commercial parking lots. That proposal will also go before the Licensing Commission.

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