City officials are looking to increase the number of liquor licenses in Chelsea.
Monday night, the City Council sent to subcommittee a draft of a home rule petition to the state legislature that would allow the city to issue 10 new liquor licenses. It is expected the Council will take further action on the issue in the coming month.
The city is currently at its limit for all-alcohol licenses, which is based on a community’s population.
“Because several Councilors have expressed to me concern about this problem, and because it does constrain our ability to attract additional hotels and restaurants to the City, it may be time to restart discussions on a Home Rule Petition for additional licenses,” said City Manager Thomas Ambrosino.
The Council considered a similar petition in 2014, but decided against its adoption and submission to the state legislature at the time, Ambrosino said.
The home rule petition drafted by the City Manager is based on the 2014 draft, and does place some limitations on the liquor licenses.
“This proposal, as drafted, would allow for an additional 10 licenses to the city, limited to hotels, restaurants, and large function halls,” said Ambrosino.
In addition, the new licenses would be Chelsea licenses only and would not be transferable by the licensee. If the licensee sold or closed its business, the license would revert immediately to the city.
Ambrosino suggested that representatives from the city’s business community be invited to the council’s subcommittee meeting on the issue to discuss its pros and cons.
•In other business Monday night, the Council unanimously approved a request by Ambrosino to develop a municipal electric aggregation plan and take actions necessary to prepare the plan for submission to the state’s Public Utilities Department.
Municipal electric aggregation is a way for a city or town served by investor-owned utilities (in Chelsea’s case, Eversource) to use bulk purchasing power to negotiate electric supply on behalf of their residents and small businesses currently on basic service.
Typically in Massachusetts, residents and businesses receive their utility’s basic service supply by default, according to a pamphlet prepared by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).
With the Council’s approval, the City will now hire an energy broker to assist the city in designing an aggregation plan. Once the draft plan is completed, it will be submitted to the state if approved by the City Council.
If that plan is then approved by the state, the City would then solicit bids for a municipal electric supplier.
“Once a new electric supplier is selected and contract executed, the City will notify all members of the community who are basic service customers of Eversource that their electric supply will be switched,” stated Ambrosino in a letter to the council.
Customers in the city will have the opportunity to opt out at the beginning of the process, or at any time after that without penalty, the City Manager added.