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Liquor licenses reduced to help out with business loss


In an attempt to help out financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cornell City Council offered a fee reduction to taverns who closed their doors during the Safer at Home order. Coming out of recommendation from the Finance Committee (May 19), the council approved a $200 reduction May 21.

The city’s three taverns were selected to receive the reduction if/when they apply for renewal of their Class B Liquor license ($275), a one-time only offer.

“But you can’t single them out,” said council member Aimee Korger.

Ashley Carothers, council member, said they can, if the business is labeled for on-site sales.

“You could do it by license type,” said city administrator Dave DeJongh.

Convenience stores and the grocery store remained open, so members didn’t feel it was right to offer a reduction to those businesses.

“It’s a can of worms,” said Terry Smith, council member, adding that maybe prorating the licenses would be the way to go.

“My own personal opinion, I don’t think prorating would show much support for your businesses that were down,” said mayor Mark Larson.

Carothers said she thought the council should take a $200 discount off across the board, adding that while the taverns could have done liquor carryouts, off-sales would only make dimes. She said going to the grocery store is much cheaper in that case.

Steve Turany, council president, said he was only in favor of offering the reduction to businesses who couldn’t make a profit to sell off-sales. Council member Aimee Korger says she thought the reduction should strictly effect the three taverns who were closed.

“I think that would be the fairest in trying to keep from giving everyone that benefit,” said Korger, “and trying to help out the most for the ones who were closed.”