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Reno looks at hiking alcohol fees
by Associated Press
Jul 25, 2012 | 1498 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Garrett Valenzuela - Officials in Reno argue that it has been 15 years since alcohol license fees have gone up in the city and that it is needed to help fund alcohol-related programs and services.
Tribune/Garrett Valenzuela - Officials in Reno argue that it has been 15 years since alcohol license fees have gone up in the city and that it is needed to help fund alcohol-related programs and services.
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RENO (AP) — Reno businesses that sell alcohol are concerned that the city is looking at raising licensing fees by as much as 100 percent — an amount that some shop owners say is hurtful in the recession’s aftermath.

City officials argue the increase is warranted for alcohol-related programs and city services, and note that it’s been 15 years since the quarterly alcohol fee went up.

The city now gets about $917,000 annually in fee revenues, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

Sup restaurant co-owner Christian Christensen told the newspaper it’s a bad time for the increase because businesses are trying to recover from the recession.

“I’m willing to pay an increase to the rate of inflation, but 100 percent — I’ll fight tooth and nail to keep it away,” he said this week.

The city is considering proposed fee increases of 30 percent, 50 percent, and 100 percent on alcohol licenses for nearly 650 businesses, including casinos.

City officials are hearing public comments at meetings this month, and the Reno City Council will have a public hearing and final vote sometime in August.

“The biggest complaint we’ve had (at previous meetings) is the 100 percent issue,” said Alex Woodley, the Reno city customer and code enforcement services manager. He said the feedback from businesses has been, “If you’re going to do it, do it gradually.”

Right now, liquor stores and bars pay a quarterly fee of $412.50 and stores that sell beer and wine pay $275. Cabarets and pubs pay up to $660.

Christensen’s wife, Kasey, said she and her husband have been urging people to tell city officials what they think of the proposals. She said what the city is proposing is a “shame.”

“They didn’t do anything for 15 years and now, all of a sudden, they realize it and say, ‘Shoot, let’s just pump it up,’” she said.
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