ST. CHARLES – St. Charles’ Government Operations Committee on Monday approved a proposal that would allow bars to stay open later if liquor licensees are willing to pay extra.
Under the proposal, the closing time for bars would be at midnight, but liquor licensees can apply for late-night permits to stay open until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m.
The later permits would cost extra, and bars can be denied based on their history with police calls.
Police Chief Jim Lamkin explained that the proposal – which still needs approval from the City Council – mainly effects those with Class B and Class C liquor licenses.
Fee schedules vary depending on the type of liquor license.
According to the proposal, a licensee with a base license renewal fee of $1,200 that wishes to stay open until 1 a.m. would pay an additional $800 annually, which would total $2,000.
A licensee with a base renewal fee of $1,200 wishing to stay open until 2 a.m. would be charged an additional $2,300, with a total renewal fee of $3,500.
Lamkin said the proposal provides an exception that allows all bars to stay open until 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.
Fifth Ward Alderwoman Maureen Lewis, who also serves on the city’s Liquor Commission, said she had not heard much feedback from bar owners about the proposal, but noted that she received a letter from the owner of a bar that’s outside of the downtown area.
She said members of the Liquor Commission were in support of the proposal.
Mayor Ray Rogina, who serves as the city’s liquor commissioner, said he thinks the proposal will help sway certain “behaviors” of downtown bars.
“It seems to me it’s the end of a long road we discussed way back in the spring,” he said. “That’s not to take away from the good licensees. But I think we’re on the right track.”