Brandon looking to raise liquor license to $125,000
If you've ever thought about opening your own bar, you know the process can be pretty spendy.
In South Dakota, the cost to buy a liquor license is, often times, based upon the amount of people in the city.
Here's an example:
The cost to buy a liquor license in Sioux Falls is around $190,000. In other words, $1.25/person.
In Rapid City, it's just under $100,000, or $1.47/person.
Smaller cities like Huron, Harrisburg, Madison and Mitchell are sitting at $1.00/person.
Now, in Brandon, the council is proposing a new fee taking it from $1.00/person to $14.23/person taking the cost up to $125,000.
Brandon city councilors will hold a meeting, Monday night, to talk about the proposal. On June 11, they voted 4-2 in favor of an increase.
While some say it would be good for the city, one woman who's been trying to get her hands on a license strongly disagrees and doesn't plan on giving up.
Ann Evangelisto has owned Brandon First Stop since 2004. In 2010, she started plans for a new bar and grill on the same property. Now, getting a liquor license from the city is the one thing slowing her down.
"They proposed raising the liquor license fee to $125,000 and to have that apply to me as well, even though I have a signed, notarized and paid application of $8,785, they want to change it to $125,000," Ann Evangelisto said.
Some members of the Brandon City Council say it could be good for the city, generating money back into Brandon, thus, creating more competition.
"Yes, maybe we should increase it, but $125,000 is too much that's why we need good debate, pro's and con's and hopefully we can come to a resolution," Councilor Jo Hausman said.
Ann loves Brandon and hopes that resolution comes sooner than later.
"First, you're ignored. Then, you're not well-received. You re-do your floor plan to make it more of what they want and it's still not enough. Then, you're told at the 11th hour 'we want more for that license'," Evangelisto said.
A jump to $125,000 is too high for too small of a city, she says, especially when the city is so focused on growing.
"To me, this isn't a Buy Brandon program at all. It's not promoting growth from within Brandon. I already have a successful business in Brandon I'd like to expand with a bar and grill, I think it would be good for Brandon," Evangelisto said.
The city council's meeting for a first reading on the ordinance proposal will be held Monday night at 6:00 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.
Council member Bob Bruning is leading the proposal in favor of an increase. He has declined any interviews with KSFY until after the meeting.
Next month is the soonest any new costs could take effect. Stick with KSFY as we follow this decision.