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St. Paul promises rebate to bars that will serve late

  • August 28, 2008 - 12:07 AM
Pay full price now, get most of your money back later. That's what the city of St. Paul is telling eligible bar owners hesitant to shell out $2,500 for a permit to serve until 4 a.m. during the Republican National Convention next week.

An ordinance came forth at the City Council meeting Wednesday that would rebate $2,000 of the permit fee. But the convention will be long over by the time the change in the ordinance takes effect; ordinances generally take four weeks to pass.

This has been a contested issue for the council, but the four votes needed to approve the rebate are there.

Council President Kathy Lantry, who's against the move, admonished the council for waiting until the last minute to bring the changes forward. The original ordinance, which set a $2,500 fee, was passed in June.

The St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and some bar owners had decried the cost of the license and, last week, Mayor Chris Coleman's office touted the compromise to reduce the fee. He said it's important to put St. Paul businesses on a level field with other cities.

Minneapolis is charging $2,500 for bars to serve later than the usual 2 a.m. closing time and $100 for hotels or clubs serving primarily private groups. Bloomington is allowing bars that currently serve until 2 a.m. to expand hours at no additional cost.

About 30 St. Paul bars are eligible for the permit. Eight have applied and been approved.

Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday.

CHRIS HAVENS

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