Select Board considers license fee reduction

SOUTHWICK – The Southwick Select Board is considering a discount on license fees to town businesses.

During its Oct. 6 meeting, Selectman Russell Fox proposed offering a reduction in fees to liquor-selling establishments because of the impact of COVID-19.

“As we know, the pandemic has brought a lot of pressure to businesses and there is really little we can do, but we are working on grants with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission,” Fox said. “I’m asking for the board to reduce the cost of license fees.”

Fox said he spoke to town hall staff about the work that goes into license renewals and a reduction would cover the town’s cost while being “a gesture” to businesses.

Selectman Joseph Deedy asked about other businesses.

“Are we looking at licences for businesses that don’t sell liquor?” Deedy asked, suggesting there are other restaurants in town that have annual licenses that could use a break. Deedy said with colder weather coming, many restaurants that have benefitted from outdoor seating would not have that option in a few months and they could use the fee discount.

Fox said they should reach out to the Board of Health and the Southwick Economic Development Commission to look at some options.

Board members agreed to gather information and discuss further at its next meeting. Board Administrative Assistant Cindy Pendleton noted that she would need to know if there would be a reduction by the end of October because license renewals were coming up before the end of the year.

Also during the meeting Tuesday, Chief Administrative Officer Karl Stinehart brought up the Micro-Business Enterprise Community Development Block Grants available to the community. He said anyone interested in learning more or applying should contact the town.

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