St. Paul Park bar owners get comment period on liquor license hikeCity Administrator Kevin Walsh said he expects the city will soon open a 30-day comment period on a proposed $1,500 hike in price of an on-sale liquor license in St. Paul Park to get formal input from license holders on the plan that would phase in the increase over three years between 2013 and 2015.
St. Paul Park bar owners will soon have their say on a proposal that would increase the cost of a liquor license over the next three years, a move city officials have said is long overdue.
City Administrator Kevin Walsh said he expects the city will soon open a 30-day comment period on a proposed $1,500 hike in price of an on-sale liquor license in St. Paul Park to get formal input from license holders on the plan that would phase in the increase over three years between 2013 and 2015.
The St. Paul Park City Council will likely vote on the measure at a July 16 meeting. Council members hashed out the details of the proposal during three workshops this year.
Mayor Keith Franke, who owns Franke’s Bar on Broadway Avenue, has recused himself from discussion on the issue and said recently he would not cast a vote on the fee increase.
Walsh said the idea behind phasing in the increase in the fee is to “give them the opportunity to plan for it.”
The city hasn’t raised the cost of the $2,500 annual license – which allows bars to sell both beer and intoxicating liquor – since 1983, officials have said. On-sale liquor licenses in neighboring Cottage Grove and nearby Woodbury are far more expensive — $9,500 and $10,000 per year, respectively.
Bars – like those clustered along the Broadway Avenue commercial strip — would pony up $4,000 per year in St. Paul Park once the fee increase was in full effect.
The American Legion bar on Broadway would be the only establishment that serves beer and liquor exempt from the proposal because of its club status under state law. It pays $250 per year to the city for a full liquor license.
In the almost 30 years since St. Paul Park last raised the price of a liquor license, officials say the cost of policing the city’s increasingly-busy bars has risen drastically.
Police were called to incidents involving St. Paul Park bars more in 2011 than during a similar review completed in 2007, according to a report compiled by the city’s police department and presented to council members during a March workshop. And the cost of responding to those calls has gone up, officials say.
“The cost of providing [police] service has increased since the last time (the city) increased the fee,” Walsh said recently.