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City, county waive Sunday liquor license fees ahead of eclipse

City, county waive Sunday liquor license fees ahead of eclipse

August 18th, 2017 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

Businesses owners will only pay for a state Sunday liquor license if they plan to sell alcohol on Aug. 20.

The Jefferson City Council called a special meeting before Thursday's Budget Committee meeting to waive the single-Sunday liquor license fee of $50 if it is the first time the business owner is applying for the license. The motion passed unanimously.

The Cole County Commission on Tuesday waived the county's Sunday liquor license fee if a business plans to sell alcohol only on Aug. 20, the day before the solar eclipse.

Last week, the City Council passed an amendment to the city's alcoholic beverage code to allow active liquor license holders to sell alcohol by the individual drink from 11 a.m.-midnight on a specific Sunday. The license holder would apply for an additional license through the city's Liquor Control Board and would have to tell the board which Sunday he or she wishes to open.

After the amendment passed, Mayor Carrie Tergin said the city learned businesses needed county and state Sunday liquor licenses in addition to the city's single-Sunday liquor license.

Cole County and Missouri do not offer single-Sunday sales liquor licenses, only annual licenses. A state, county and city annual Sunday sales liquor licenses costs $200 each.

The state pro-rates its annual Sunday liquor licenses, and the current pro-rated amount is $183, City Attorney Ryan Moehlman said.

Tergin said when she learned how expensive it would be, she presented the idea to the County Commission of waiving its fee.

Since the city and county waived their fees, businesses will pay only the state's Sunday liquor license fee, which the city cannot change.

"We want to make it as easy for businesses to stay open, and we're looking forward to welcoming record number of crowds, so we want them to be able to enjoy our restaurants and everything our city has to offer. So we want to make it as easy as possible for restaurants to be able to do business and serve our locals and visitors alike," Tergin said.

Moehlman said he thinks businesses would have enough time to apply for the liquor licenses, even with the eclipse on Monday.

Margie Mueller, Jefferson City's finance director and a Liquor Control Board member, said the Liquor Control Board has processed five applications so far and will provide refunds to businesses that paid the $50 fee.

Liquor licensees who do not have a Sunday-sales liquor license close their businesses between 1:30 a.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday, according to city code. Liquor licensees can sell alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday and Sundays falling on New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, St. Patrick's Day or Independence Day.

Businesses are allowed to sell beer Sundays without a Sunday sales liquor license, Moehlman added.