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Can liquor license fees be cut in half to help out?

Cornell City Council

It wasn’t an action item, but something Cornell City Council member Ashley Carothers brought up nonetheless, at a regular meeting May 7, dealing with lowering liquor licenses for city businesses. Carothers suggested that the council cut the renewal fees in half for one year, to ease financial burden on bars during the loss of income during the COVID-19 health emergency.

“Is there anything that we can do for the businesses that are shut down once they start opening?” asked Carothers. “Is there any interest in that?”

Floyd Hickethier asked how much licenses are, to which city administrator Dave DeJongh said it’s $275 for liquor and $100 for malt beverages.

“I don’t know how you’d pick and choose,” said mayor Mark Larson.

“You gotta do for one, you gotta do for all,” agreed Hickethier.

Council president Steve Turany said Cornell has three bars that had to shut down and are losing a lot of money. He also mentioned that those places paid for licenses, but haven’t been able to use the licenses for two months.

“We count on that two months of being open to help pay for that license going on the next year,” said council member and Huddle Up Pub owner Bill Kvapil.

Hickethier said he is concerned that if the council only lowers or forgives the fee for bars, that it will be discrimination against the stores and gas stations that also sell liquor.

As it was not on the agenda, no action was taken on the matter for the time being.

Another item brought up, was that Paul and Ann Sonderegger would like to reserve two spots in front of their business, the Main Scoop, at 102 Main Street.

We are installing a curbside delivery/walk-up window and would like our customers to be able to access the window, wrote the couple in their request.

The business is open from May 1 to Sept. 30, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily.

“We’re getting dangerously close to cutting off other parking that is between where we put the signs last time and where they want to go,” said Carothers.

The council previously approved limited parking in the morning and evening in front of Kids First Childcare, because of safety concerns when crossing the street.

“Why couldn’t they (Sondereggers) put the window on the side of the building, instead of the front?” questioned Kvapil.

Since it was not an action item, the issue was sent to Public Health and Safety, where that committee will invite the Sondereggers to share their plans.

Now that signs are up all over the city, advertising that streets are open for AVT/UTV travel, Kvapil asked police chief Brian Hurt if there have been any problems.

“For the most part, no,” said Hurt.

Council member Aimee Korger said it should be known that ATV/UTV vehicles are only to go from Point A to Point B, and not zigzag when crossing the state highway, as she has observed.

“You’re gonna have some of that, I know you are, until we can get them educated that you can’t do that,” said Kvapil.

Hurt said he has talked to several ATV/UTV users, as an educational purpose, saying the recreational vehicle owners were not aware of the new ordinance, along with some of the rules associated with using the city streets to travel on.

“For the time being, it’s working and working well,” said Hurt of the ordinance.