Letter to the Editor

Reducing Liquor License Fees

Dear Editor:

This week I presented a request for our Licensing Board to consider reducing the liquor renewal fees for this year given the impact of Covid-19.

Fortunately, most of my colleagues were receptive of the motion voting in favor with the exception of Councilor Leo Robinson.

We know that this pandemic has affected our community beyond measure. As a city we have done everything we can to help our residents in terms of rental assistance, financial aid for families who have been abandoned by design, and we have worked collaboratively to provide food and supplies to residents.

As the District Councilor of the heart of this city, I have been conscious that there is another sector we must step up to help and that is our small businesses. They need a lifeline too.

We have presented a special emergency relief fund to provide grants of up to $20,000 to spend on operations, utility bills and supplies. That initiative is still in the process of rolling out but in the meantime we cannot sit around and pretend we’ve done enough.

It will take a generation to fix the impacts of this pandemic. So as city leaders, community activists, organizers, business supporters we need to come together and constantly ask ourselves – what else can we be doing?

I’ve personally met with several business owners to really listen to their needs. The idea of reducing the renewal fee for liquor licenses came from them.

If our hope is to show this state that Chelsea remains resilient, we need to ensure our businesses thrive. We need to introduce policies that speak to their needs.

Reducing the renewal fee of liquor licenses will bring some financial relief to businesses who did not serve alcohol for months during this pandemic. Many of these businesses rely on alcohol sales to remain open.

My goal is to ask for a 50 percent reduction of this renewal fee. If you would like to stand with your local businesses please email me your words of support at [email protected].

The Licensing Commission will be convening on Thursday, July 16, at 6 p.m. to consider this request. 

Judith Garcia

Vice President

Chelsea City Councilor District 5

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