Rockford to help businesses with 2020 liquor license fee

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 9:39 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - As the second surge of the coronavirus hits the Stateline, businesses are forced to go back to only providing minimal services, but the city of Rockford wants to help.

On Monday at city council the finance committee votes yes to a resolution that will cover a bit of the nearly $240,000 most businesses have missed out on during the pandemic.

“We’re all in this fight together,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara.

McNamara says he’s hurting for businesses in his city and he worked with his staff to come up with ways to help. One idea was brought before the city council providing bars a rebate on their liquor license fee.

“If an owner has already paid the annual fee in full the city will rebate 50 percent. If the owner has only paid the first installment they will not be required to pay the second installment when they file their renewal application,” McNamara said.

“I think it also shows that the city of Rockford I think is really concerned about losing more business especially restaurants and establishments that have been here,” said Alderperson Kevin Frost.

A liquor license can run up to $1,500 for clubs and nearly$3,000 for bars which means businesses will save somewhere between $800 and $1,500

“We understand that the reduction of the annual liquor license will not be significant for many of our businesses so we will continue to work with the state to provide assistance to provide funds to local bars and restaurants,” McNamara said.

McNamara also mentions the COVID-19 relief program the state promised that despite his efforts the state has yet to provide any actual dollars to businesses. McNamara says he will continue fighting until local businesses get the funding they deserve.

The finance committee also passed a resolution to create a cannabis fund which will utilize the 3%t local cannabis sales tax to fund programs to help areas that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis-related laws.

These resolutions will go before the full board during the next city council meeting.

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