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Detroit Lakes liquor license fees increase 50 percent

Liquor license fees in Detroit Lakes will be increasing 50 percent. For most, that's not too steep, but for on-sale, it will be a $1,000 increase.

Liquor license fees that will increase are on-sale intoxicating liquor, from $2,000 to $3,000 a year. Most liquor fees have not been raised in 13 years. An investigative fee of $250 will be charged for new licenses.

Several bar owners spoke at Tuesday evening's Detroit Lakes City Council meeting about the jump in fees.

"We all have increases in business, that's understandable, but this 50 percent is radical," Brian Johnson said. Johnson owns Long Bridge Bar and Grill, and asked that the city look into seasonal licenses for those not open year round.

Alderman Bruce Imholte said he would like the city to look at the fees every year or two and make smaller increases, rather than such a large sum every 10-15 years, something that was criticized by some of those who spoke.

He added that it is unfortunate the city didn't increase the fees years earlier, but it will be more proactive from now on.

Sandbar II co-owner Dave Meyer said, "A 50 percent increase is very drastic. A raise is necessary, but over 13 years."

He asked that the city consider raising the fee over a five-year period, rather than all at once. He also voiced his concern over raising it at the end of the year when those applying for the license only have about a month or two to prepare.

Assistant City Administrator Lynne Krieger said permit applications and fees are due to the state by Dec. 31.

Shorewood Pub owner Shirley Cervenka asked how come clubs such as the Legion, VFW and Eagles aren't increasing fees. Those fees are state regulated and are based on membership.

"I'm all for clubs," she said, "but they are overstepping their bounds to have the public" allowed in and not just members, but not have fees increase for them.

Mayor Matt Brenk said he would have the city attorney look into the issue and make sure the city isn't missing anything on the matter.

Lakeside owner Chet Collins spoke in favor of the increase.

"I think it's reasonable. A lot of communities are (assessing) a lot more," he said.

What he did comment on though, was that he thinks with granting these licenses, the city needs to be fair, making all bars comply with ordinances such as noise, parking and impervious surface requirements.

"By helping one, you're hurting another," he said, adding that he didn't want to go into detail, but alluded to the tent issue down the street at Zorbaz.

Temporary fees for new on-sale intoxicating licenses -- for non-profits, charitable, religious organizations, etc. -- are increasing from $50 to $75. Sunday liquor licenses will increase from $150 to $200, and wine licenses will increase from $500 to $550.

On- and off-sale 3.2 malt liquor licenses and off-sale grocery stores will be $225, up from $150.

The one fee not changed is the consumption and possession of liquor and beer at public places, for $25 a day.

Along with the liquor fee increases, other fees throughout the city will increase as well. Tobacco licenses will increase from $100 to $150. Plumbing licenses will go from $25 to $40, and returned checks will be $30.

Another increase will be animals being impounded. The fine was $10 for each offense, plus $15 a day to board the animal, but the city will be increasing the fee on a progressive scale. While the city hasn't set the fee scale yet, repeat offenders will charged more for second and third offenses.

"The point is to get them (repeat offenders) to manage the animals, not (for the city to) manage the animals," City Administrator Bob Louiseau said.

He said the city is able to look up who is getting these fines, and has found they are in fact the same peoplem over and over.

Other fee increases include notary signing for $1 a document, nuisance fees to $75 and $25 a day to rent the band shell, which was previously free.

All building permit fees have stayed the same.