AUBURN, Mass. – It was a close vote on Monday night as the Auburn Board of Selectmen approved a $200 license fee for BYOB juice bars.
The board disagreed over the vote, as Selectmen Chairman Doreen Goodrich and Selectman Denise Brotherton voted “no” to the $200 license fee. However, the other three board members voted “yes,” which was enough to establish the fee for BYOB juice bars.
Goodrich and Brotherton wanted a $500 fee, which was what the Auburn Police Department recommended to the board. But Selectmen Robert Grossman, Steve Simonian and Kenneth Holstrom said $200 would be more appropriate.
“I just think that $500 a year for renewal is a lot for a small business to handle, especially in these days,” Simonian said.
“Businesses today are trying to get themselves started and established, and there are high fees and taxes for everything,” Holstrom said. “I understand there should be a fee and regulations to follow. However, let’s reduce the fee to $200 and help businesses out as much as we can.”
The board can amend the $200 fee at any time.
Communities around Auburn have different license fees for BYOB establishments, according to Goodrich. Oxford has a $900 fee, while Spencer and Worcester do not have fees.
Goodrich said she spoke with Police Chief Andrew Sluckis, who recommended a $500 fee for Auburn.
“He felt that the fee would show a willingness to be responsible for that license,” Goodrich said. “He felt if we set the fee too low, it would be too easy for every establishment to have one, and they wouldn’t have resources available to monitor this.”
The reduced fee means “we need to be very clear that there are strong penalties for any violations of this license,” Goodrich said.
Simonian said he will write out a proposal for the next meeting that would state how the town will ”take seriously any offenses of the BYOB license.”
In addition to the $200 fee, applicants must notify abutting neighbors about the BYOB license, advertise the license in the newspaper and have a public hearing for the license.