Liquor License Fee Increase

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Tuesday night Lowndes County commissioners approved a fee increase on liquor licenses.

County manager Joe Pritchard says, "It's been between 15 and 20 years since the county has looked at any assessment or any increase in those liquor licenses."

Smitty's Liquor Store owner Michael Smith says, "I think it was time the county went up on their liquor fees, but the way they did it, I'm not too excited about."

The increase will be based on percentage sale.

Store owners say they're already taxed enough on their alcohol. For example, a $20 bottle of Jack Daniels has $12 of it already going to taxes.

Smith says, "I think the local government and the state's getting their fair share of profits off taxing liquor. Then this is just another way to get a few extra thousand from all the businesses in the county."

The county manager doesn't deny that, but he does believe in the purpose of the increase.

Pritchard says, "To keep our fees current with other cities and that we would also have a revenue that would be equivalent to the costs that we incur related to public safety.”

The fee increase will go into affect on March 30, 2006. This increase will not affect businesses within the city limits, only those in the county.