Changes to the way the city charges for licenses to sell alcoholic beverages by the drink will be on the agenda when the Commerce City Council meets Monday night.
The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in the Commerce Room of the Commerce Civic Center.
The issue came up this past Monday as the council went over the meeting agenda during its “work session” meeting. One of the items on that agenda — renewal of alcohol licenses — precipitated the discussion.
Mayor pro tem Keith Burchett asked if the city had ever discussed prorating the fees, which cover a license for a calendar year. Currently, when a restaurant applies for a pouring license, it pays the full annual fee — $300 for wine, $500 for beer and/or $4,000 for mixed drinks — regardless of how far along in the year it is when the application is made. The new Mexican restaurant, for example, opened this fall but paid $4,500 for its mixed drink and beer licenses, which will expire Dec. 31.
“That’s a big chunk of money if you come in late in the year,” said Councilman Clark Hill, who is also mayor-elect. “That’s $5,000 and then in three months you have to renew it.”
Several ideas were floated at the work session — a reduced fee for the first year, prorating the license fees quarterly or semiannually and prorating them monthly.
In the end, city clerk Shirley Willis volunteered to contact surrounding jurisdictions to see what their license rates are, and city manager Clarence Bryant said he’d have city attorney John Stell to have an amendment to the city’s alcohol ordinance prepared for Monday night, at which time the council can decide whether to reduce the fees or how to prorate licenses bought after the first of the year.