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12 23Fri12192014

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Bill proposes hike in liquor licensing fees

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A BILL has been introduced by Sen. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas which may allow Hagåtña and Tumon to be exempted from the alcohol license limit set by law. But the measure also authorizes a $1,000 increase for on-sale liquor license fees for the two villages.

Current law limits the number of general alcohol licenses allowed to only one for each 200 inhabitants of the municipality where the establishments are located.

But Bill 88, the “Responsible Alcoholic Beverage Control Act,” exempts premises located in Hagåtña and in Tumon from this alcohol license cap.

In terms of on-sale liquor license fees, the measure proposes a new fee of $2,000 a year for the two villages. The current general retail dealers’ on-sale license costs $1,000 annually for all villages and municipalities.

According to the bill, the village of Tumon has grown into a center for tourism, while the capital village of Hagåtña has become a center for business and government offices with a large population of professionals that work in the village.

“In order to properly regulate the concentrated number of liquor licenses in Tumon and Hagåtña, fees shall be increased for on-sale general liquor licenses in the two areas to provide for increased Alcoholic Beverage Control enforcement, police presence, mass transit availability, and other programs to be administered by the village mayor,” the bill states.

More resources

Moreover, the measure will allow the accommodation of increased tourism numbers and provide enforcement resources for Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Guam Police Department as well as provide needed funding for village programs in the affected villages.

In a recent oversight hearing, San Nicolas reported that Tumon, Tamuning and Harmon have all exceeded the legal limit for Alcoholic Beverage Control licensing, with 41 more establishments serving liquor on-site and off-premises than the 99 allowed for the three villages. Hagåtña, the island’s capital, also went over by nine, from its limit of just six establishments.

Considering the island's increase in tourism and economic growth, DRT suggested a review of the old laws involving the liquor licensing ratio.

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