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Council to consider liquor license refund

Lake City City Council members sounded open to a proposal to refund a portion of city liquor license fees to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have had some individuals with liquor licenses asking – similar to other communities – if we would be willing to reimburse liquor license fees,” City Administrator Rob Keehn told the council at its May 11 meeting.

Such reimbursements are permitted on a quarterly basis under state statute, he said. Currently the city is in the fourth quarter of its license year, which runs from July 1 to the end of June.

Elsewhere in the agenda, the council approved liquor licenses for the upcoming year.

Keehn said he could bring the council an action item in June with more information, including the amount of reimbursement.

Council member Jason DeVinny said: “It makes sense to consider giving a break where some of our proprietors can’t operate and they paid a fee to do that.”

There seemed to be unanimous support on the council for some sort of reimbursement.

Mayor Mark Nichols asked if there were other fees the city might consider refunding.

Keehn said the liquor license situation is unique in that regard.

“By and large the fees that we charge are fees for a service,” he said. “So if you’re not using the service the fee’s not incurred.

“This really is one where we’ve got a clear group of people who have paid a fee for the ability to serve. That ability to serve has been done away with due to the governor’s executive orders.”

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