Come January, establishments in Cottage Grove that serve alcohol will pay less to renew their licenses. The City Council last week voted to reduce the annual fee from $9,500 to $6,000.
"It will be an extra nice Christmas gift," said City Administrator Ryan Schroeder.
The city made the reduction after it conducted a survey of about 35 metro area communities and found the Cottage Grove "was on the high side," Schroeder said. Neighboring St. Paul Park voted in July to raise its liquor fees from $2,500 to $4,000. Newport's rate is $2,500. The drop will have minimal effect on the city's budget.
Only a handful of restaurants, bars and golf courses currently hold liquor licenses, and they don't generate a lot of police calls, Schroeder said.
"Our message is that our current establishments are managing their facilities in way that allows us to drop fees," he said. "If we are overcharging for something and we can't prove the benefit, we have a responsibility to reduce it."