LEE — Lee could join the growing list of Berkshire communities giving a break to liquor license holders in 2021.
The Select Board, acting as the town’s licensing authority, is considering a reduction in cost for the licensees most affected by the economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, North Adams and Dalton reduced their liquor license fees for next year; Lanesborough did the same, waiving the entire cost, saving licensees a total of $13,150.
Lee Select Board Chairman David Consolati didn’t say during Tuesday’s regular meeting what that reduction would be, something town officials will work out before the board meets Dec. 15.
“Since package stores and convenience stores with licenses were allowed to stay open, they won’t be considered,” he said. Lee has seven package/convenience store licenses worth a total of $3,250.
Since the 18 restaurants and two innkeepers with liquor licenses have been closed or had limited service because of COVID-19 protocols, the board said they will qualify for a reduced license fee. The majority of the eateries — 16 — have all-alcohol licenses, with an annual fee of $750. Two innkeepers also have the same license, with two restaurants each paying $250 for a beer and wine license. In all, the 20 licenses account for $14,000 of the $17,250 in annual license revenue to the town.
Liquor license renewals in the commonwealth for next year were due by the state law-mandated deadline of Nov. 30.
Those license holders in Lee who already forked over the fee will get a rebate, depending on the reduction amount.
“If they paid and [the application] was processed, they will get a check back,” said Selectwoman Patricia Carlino.
Town officials noted that those rebates might not arrive in the mail until Christmastime.