At its Nov. 9 meeting, the Osseo City Council took up discussion and reviewed the liquor license fees for the second half of 2020.

In May, the council voted to temporarily reduce the on-sale liquor license fees for the first half of the license year, which runs July 1 to June 30. Fees were reduced due to pandemic concerns and the restrictions on businesses that sold liquor. The council also decided to reevaluate the license fees in November.

Community Management Coordinator Joe Amerman, on Nov. 9 said, “The decision now is whether the city wants to continue reducing those fees for the second half of the license year.”

If the City Council decides to reduce the liquor license fees for the entire license year, July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, the city would take in $5,537 in fees compared to its typical $22,150.

Councilor Juliana Hultstrom said she wanted the city to continue reducing the fees and not collect fees for the second half of the license year. “I know these businesses are having a hard time,” she said. “If we can do anything to help them, I think that’s what we are here to do.”

Councilor Harold Johnson agreed, stating that there would be a continued strain on these businesses with liquor licenses come the winter months.

“It seems like a nice thing to do to help these businesses out, and I agree with that,” Councilor Mark Schulz said. “But then what’s happening is we’re putting them on the back of every single taxpayer.”

He wondered if there was a compromise that could be made, possibly only 50% due for the entire license year from each license holder. Mayor Duane Poppe liked that compromise, as did Councilor Larry Stelmach.

“I’d like to stick where we are at,” Hultstrom said. “I understand that this is going to make our budgeting a little more challenging. But if it means the difference between a business being able to operate and possibly not operate, I feel that helping our businesses is more important.”

Poppe wondered if the council could look back at the fees in early 2021. City Attorney Mary Tietjen said the council and that the licenses were paid up through Dec. 31.

It was agreed that waiting would give the council more time to see how the businesses handle the pandemic.

The council decided to postpone revisiting the collection of additional liquor license fees until the end of March 2021.


In other action, the council:

CANVASSED the 2020 Election results at a special meeting on Nov. 13.

REMOVED discussion of the water meter project bids until City Administrator Riley Grams is back from leave.

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