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Liquor license fees in Green Bay see increase

By Heather Graves

GREEN BAY – Class A and Class B liquor license holders will notice a significant hike in their fees when they receive renewal letters in early May.

City alders approved an increase in license fees, the first increase in several years, at their meeting Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Class A beer and liquor licenses were increased from $250 per year to $500 per year, while Class B liquor licenses were increased from $400 to $500.

The Class A license authorizes the retail sale of liquor and wine for consumption off the premises, such as convenience stores/gas stations.

The Class B license authorizes the retail sale of liquor and wine for consumption on or off the premises, such as restaurants and bars.

City finance director Diana Ellenbecker said the reasoning behind the license fees increasing were two-fold: to be more inline with surrounding municipalities, and to help make up some of the costs associated with the licensing process – which include staff time, paperwork and background checks.

“Between the staff time in the clerk’s office and all the background checks that are being completed at the police station, this is not covering the cost of some of the licenses,” Ellenbecker said. “So, that is why the recommendation was we would take it up and try and recover some of the costs of the licenses.”

Hobart, Howard, Ashwaubenon, Bellevue and De Pere all have similar fee amounts.

The increase in fees will bring in an additional $47,000.

City staff did reach out to the are Tavern League – receiving positive feedback, and attempted to contact the local restaurant association, but no direct contact with license holders was done.

“We did not send any communication out,” Ellenbecker said.

Some alders wanted to see the increase to the Class A licenses, which doubled in cost, happen over two years.

“This is a fairly substantial increase in one year, with very little notification,” said District 9 Alder Brian Johnson.

District 8 Alder Chris Wery was in support of the increment increase.

“We are doubling their fees, and I bet 99 percent, maybe all of them, didn’t even know about it. So they didn’t even get a chance to give us their input,” Wery said. “That is why I think stretching it over two years is a better option.”

A motion was made to split the increase over the next two years, an increase of $125 this year and the remaining $125 next year, but it failed in a 7-4 vote.

Ultimately, the majority of the council supported the increases and the motion ended up passing unanimously.

“This is a substantial money maker for these businesses, and I don’t think we are taking a gouge out of them in any way,” said District 7 Alder Randy Scannell. “I see no reason we shouldn’t do this now.”

Alleyway art installation

More art is coming to the city’s downtown.

The council approved the recommendation from the Public Arts Commission to put out a call for artists for a permanent alleyway transformation art installation.

There is roughly $27,000 in the Community Development Block Grant beautification funds available for this project.

The proposed alleyway is located within Bodart Street in downtown Green Bay – which is a fully-functioning alley.

Access for vehicles, snow plows and maintenance needs to be taken into consideration with proposals.

With the approval by the full council, the Public Arts Commission will put out a call for artists to submit proposals.

Organizers said the goal is to build unexpected creativity into the everyday life of residents and visitors of Green Bay.

Preliminary proposals will be accepted until March 29, with refined proposals due April 10.

Final artist/artist team selection is expected in May.

Artists/artist teams will receive funds for materials, as well as a stipend for their work.

Installation of the project is scheduled to happen sometime this summer.

Proposals, which should include a cover page, contact information and all project details, can be submitted to:

Laura Schley
Department of Community & Economic Development
100 North Jefferson Street – Room 608
Green Bay, WI 54301

Or email all materials to [email protected].

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