By Gordon Woodworth, Chronicle News Editor
Starting this summer, restaurants with outdoor seating on city property will have to pay a per seat fee of $5 plus $50 for an annual permit. It takes effect June 1.
The Common Council passed the amendment unanimously at its Feb. 12 meeting. Previously, the annual charge was $40 with no added fee for number of seats.
Contacted for comment, Mayor Dan Hall said he and the Council “felt that to make it fair, it would be best to have restaurants pay by the seat. I think it’s equitable, and I haven’t gotten any negative feedback at all.”
City Clerk Robert Curtis told The Chronicle that one venue, Davidson Brothers Restaurant & Brewery, has paid up so far.
“The Common Council approved Davidson’s encroachment permit for outside dining at the March 12th meeting. Davidson’s paid $700 ($50 standard fee and $650 for 130 chairs, the number of chairs that they requested in their permit),” Mr. Curtis said via e-mail. “The outside dining fee was paid on March 13th.”
Mr. Curtis said that last year “the City Clerk’s office processed 70 encroachment permits for $2,822.50. In looking at the data, I would estimate that less than 15 were for outside dining. The others were for dumpsters, sandwich boards, street openings, awnings, etc.
“This year to date we have processed 14 encroachment permits (one for outside dining) for $1,220. My guesstimate for 2019 revenue would be somewhere around $3,000-$3,200 for the year, not a major increase but an increase nonetheless.”
He said the new fees apply citywide, not just downtown.
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