City council pushes tobacco license fee increases back to April
• City council voted to lay over a law that would require landlords to register with the city
Rockford City Council moved at its Dec. 17 meeting to delay the renewal date for tobacco licenses following complaints from retailers about a 1,141 percent increase in the annual fee.
The annual tobacco license fee was to go up from $145 per year to $1,800 per year in January, coupled with a one-time $5,000 application fee for new licenses. However, the council pushed the renewal date back from January to April to allow further discussion about the topic. The move also aligns tobacco permits with liquor license renewal.
In a Dec. 3 letter to Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) and aldermen (published in the Dec. 12-18 Rock River Times), John C. Griffin, president & CEO of Kelley Williamson Company, said: “As a local businessman and lifelong member of this community, I am tremendously disappointed that it appears the interests of my company and other tobacco-selling businesses in this area have been completely disregarded in this manner. I cannot even begin to imagine what these pricing increases will do to the livelihood of local business owners who do so much for our community and those who live and work here.”
The council is reportedly considering reducing the tobacco license fee.
Also at the Dec. 17 meeting, the city council voted to lay over a law that would require landlords to register with the city. The ordinance is being written by the committee and members of the Rockford Apartment Association.
The city’s 2013 budget also made it out of committee and is likely to be voted on at the next city council meeting.
The city council meets every Monday in the council chambers at Rockford City Hall, 425 E. State St. The council will not meet Monday, Dec. 24, in observance of Christmas Eve.
From the Dec. 19-25, 2012, issue
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