Future purchasers of pouring licenses in Commerce will get a break following action by the Commerce City Council Monday night.
The break comes in two forms.
First, restaurants that purchase licenses to pour distilled spirits, beer and/or wine on or after July 1 in any year will pay only 50 percent of the annual license fee. Until Monday, no matter how far into a year a restaurant purchased a license, it paid the entire fee.
Secondly, new restaurants purchasing a license to pour distilled spirits will get a 50-percent discount for the first year on the $4,000 annual license fee.
The issue came up after the El Huasteco Mexican restaurant opened in September and paid a full year’s license fees to pour mixed drinks ($4,000) and beer ($500). The restaurant did not renew its mixed drink license for 2012, opting to purchase licenses just for the on-premises consumption of beer and wine.
Mayor pro tem Keith Burchett expressed disappointment that the city council could not make the charge retroactive to help that restaurant.
“I just hate to see that guy take such a hit,” Burchett said. “He paid in September and has to turn around and pay it again now.”
City attorney John Stell advised the council that it could not make the motion retroactive — that El Huasteco falls under the ordinance in place at the time.
The vote to amend the ordinance passed unanimously.