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New liquor license policy?

October 31, 2012 - Treasurer Curt Carson hopes to keep liquor licenses in the community to encourage businesses to stay within Independence Township.

The number of liquor licenses state law allows in a community is based on population, and Independence Township has already issued its total of 23 licenses. Those hoping to serve beer, wine, or liquor in their establishment must pay a one-time fee of $600 to the township and $600 to the state yearly for a license, explained Deputy Clerk Beth Lawrence.

A business with a liquor license from Independence can move their establishment to another township, yet even though no longer operate in Independence township, their liquor license would be counted in the 23 allotted.

According to Lawrence, once a liquor license is issued to a business, it can be sold to another business for any price and in any township. The state of Michigan charges $600, and the township charges $300 for a license transfer, she said.

From Carson's perspective, the ease of transferring a liquor license to another township is a problem.

"I want business to come here and stay here, and if we can create a situation where business will stay here as opposed to leave, I think that's something we should pursue," he said.

To keep business in Independence, Carson wants businesses to sign an agreement that ensures their liquor license will be sold within Independence Township if their establishment is no longer operating. Businesses that have already been issued licenses will not have to agree to the new policy if it is adopted, he said.

In a 3:1 vote on October 16, the board approved spending $1,200 to have attorney Steve Joppich draft a new liquor license policy. Clerk Barb Pallotta was the sole board member to oppose the motion. Trustees Mark Petterson and Larry Rosso were absent.

Pallotta pointed out, "we can have the agreement, but in terms of it being enforceable, we don't have that authority."

The Clerk also expressed the opinion that the policy was contradictory. "I would welcome a license coming in, so I'm hesitant to take the opposite approach." Two businesses in Independence Township currently operate with liquor licenses acquired in other townships.

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