Peoria City Council reduces video gaming, liquor license fees for complying businesses

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria City Council is offering a little relief for local businesses.

During its first meeting of the year Tuesday night, the council unanimously voted to reduce liquor license and video gaming license fees by 50%.

“The intent behind that is just simply to make it a little bit easier from a regulatory perspective on all of our restaurants so that we can see them continue to be around as we move forward into 2021,” Patrick Urich, Peoria city manager, said.

“I hope it helps provide some relief and I hope we get through this quicker, as soon as possible so we can get things back to normal,” Beth Jensen, council member, said.

However, city leaders said there are exemptions to the discount. They said the reductions in fees don’t apply to grocery stores, liquor stores, gas stations, or places that hold packaged licenses where there is no on-site consumption. These exemptions apply to 49 liquor license holders out of the city’s 229.

City officials also broke down how expensive the annual liquor licenses can be.

They said the most common is a tavern license costing $1,100 and a Class B restaurant license costing $1,300. They also said the most common subclass license is a 4 a.m. license costing $3,500, a 2 a.m. license costing $800, and a beer garden license costing $200.

“What this does is this does not give anything but a partnership with our businesses to be able to let them know that we understand the expenses the fragility of their business and the fact that they’ve had to tailor their business or in some cases not be able to operate at all,” Sid Ruckriegel, at-large councilman, said. 

City leaders said all of the city’s current bars and restaurants are eligible for the discount and those found guilty of violating the governor’s executive COVID-19 orders would have to pay the full amount for their fees.

During the meeting, the council also approved a two-year collective bargaining agreement with the Peoria Police Benevolent Association. Coming up in future meetings, the council is expected to discuss giving new property owners on the city’s southside and North Valley areas an abatement on their property taxes.

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