EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — East Dubuque City Council members voted Monday night to increase annual fees for businesses selling tobacco or alcoholic beverages, as well as those providing recreational amusements.
The increases come after City Manager Loras Herrig recommended fees be increased to match changes in inflation since they were last updated. Some businesses in town will see as much as an $800 increase.
“The city needs to charge properly for its services,” Herrig said. “These fees haven’t been adjusted in over a decade.”
The ordinances examined by the council had not been updated since at least 2007.
However, not all proposed fee increases were approved. A measure to increase an annual fee for operating a restaurant from $75 to $150 instead turned into a successful motion to eliminate the ordinance entirely.
Mayor Kirk Van- Ostrand, who made the motion, said he felt the license was unnecessary and should be eliminated now that other annual fees were being updated.
“This was just created for more revenue,” VanOstrand said. “I figured that it made sense to just eliminate it.”
Herrig made a recommendation against the motion.
All of the other proposed increases were approved. Businesses selling tobacco products will see an annual increase from $75 to $100, businesses providing amusements, such as pool tables, will see an annual increase from $50 to $74 and businesses selling alcoholic beverages will see an annual fee increase in the range of $300 to $800, depending on the license.
Herrig said the fee increases will create an additional $9,000 in annual revenue for the city, which will be put toward making up budget deficits.
VanOstrand said he felt the fee increases were fair.
“There haven’t been increases in a long time,” VanOstrand said. “It’s something that had to happen eventually.”
However, Council Member Adam Arling cast a vote in opposition to all the fee increases.
He was joined by Council Members Dawn Stelpflug and Martin Werner only in voting against the motion to increase liquor license fees. VanOstrand then broke the tie by voting in favor of the fee increase.
Arling said he feels the increases will make it harder for the city to attract businesses.
“It makes it harder for businesses when we already don’t have a lot of businesses coming in,” Arling said. “It’s a pretty drastic fee increase.”
He said he was open to increasing the fees incrementally in smaller amounts annually.
No business owners spoke during the meeting on the fee increases.
Deb LeGrand, the owner of Golden Pheasant on Sinsinawa Avenue, said her annual fees will go up by $350 per year.
“It’s going to affect me a lot,” she said. “All of the bars are going to have to deal with it.”