Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Champaign Liquor License Fee Increase

From the News-Gazette

Champaign council approves increase in liquor license fees

CHAMPAIGN – The cost of selling liquor for Champaign business owners will rise incrementally during the next four years after city council members Tuesday voted 6-3 to increase licensing fees.

The first round of occupancy-based increases will begin on Nov. 1, according to city documents. At that time, the cap on bar licenses will rise from $3,500 to $4,000 and the base fee for some restaurants will go up from $1,250 to $1,550.

Similar increases will occur every November until 2013.

That's about an increase of $2 a day. It may be an initial hard hit on the owners, but it should level out quickly.

Michael Murphy, owner of Mike N Molly's bar in downtown Champaign, said the increase is not likely to affect the price of drinks significantly. Other factors, like distributor prices and a slow economy, are much more likely to do so.
"This probably won't be the thing to make prices go up," Murphy said.
Of course, some places may use it as an excuse to raise prices.

During the meeting, Murphy told the council about his concerns with another topic: licenses for outdoor seating on city property. Mike N Molly's has seating on private property, and he said he pays much more for those seats than would a cafe with seats on a public sidewalk.

"I would like to see the playing field become a little more level," Murphy said.

Teri Legner, the city's economic development manager and deputy liquor commissioner, explained to the council that outdoor seating licensing fees were set when outdoor seating was first allowed more than 10 years ago and had not changed since then.

"It's probably the time to look at that," Legner said.

I can understand Murph's problem, he's got one of the largest beer gardens in town.

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