ST. CLOUD - Liquor license fees in St. Cloud are going up next year. The St. Cloud city council has approved an increase for virtually all liquor license types, except for service clubs which are based on the number of members.

The increases range from 4.9 percent to 6.4 percent, or generally between $200 to $300.

Lincoln Depot owner Jeremy Frey says bar and restaurant owners in St. Cloud are already paying their fare share.

We're already paying property taxes. The city of St. Cloud also has a one percent liquor and food tax, which our neighboring communities don't have, and actually only four other cities outside of the metro area have that one percent tax. That already gives us a competitive disadvantage from our neighbors in Waite Park, Sartell, Sauk Rapids...

City Clerk Gregg Engdahl says St. Cloud spends about $320,000 a year on enforcement of liquor laws. Currently liquor license fees generate about $192,000 a year. The fee increases will bring the revenue up to about $216,000.

City Council President Jeff Goerger says it's time for an increase, with the last one coming 11 years ago in 2004.

What's before us tonight is an opportunity for us to catch-up on the actual cost that the city is spending, and if we don't use fees to pay those costs, then how do we pay those costs?

The fee increase will go into effect when the licenses get renewed in July.