ROCHESTER, Minn. -
Bars downtown are getting busier all the time. But business owners have no interest in footing the bill through increased license fees.
Austin Jevne co-owns Forager Brewery and does not want to see a hike in liquor license fees.
"To me, being in the alcohol industry seems like it's always looked down upon and thrown under the bus for causing a lot of problems," Jevne said.
But Barry Skolnick believes it's time to throw some cold war on Minnesota's drinking culture.
"I'm discouraged by the fact that Minnesota is one of the worst states among 5 in the United States in binge drinking and alcoholism," Skolnick said.
Skolnick believes businesses that require more police attention should pay higher fees than others.
"Changing the nature of how the fees are charged so businesses that cause more alcoholism and binge drinking would be charged a higher fee than those that aren't," Skolnick said.
A lot of downtown business operators would like to see drunken rowdiness reined in.
John Kruesel tells KIMT he has lost at least 7 windows because of all the activity downtown over the last 8 years.
But an employee at Dooley's says that bars like his should not have to pay the price.
"There's a lot of people down here driving the food and beverage industry," Michael Vogel, the manager at Dooley's said. "They always blame it on the weekend stuff."
Mike Vogel manages Dooley's and isn't optimistic increasing license fees will solve anything. He has other ideas.
"Maybe a few less bars, maybe a few less liquor licenses," Vogel said. "Back in the 1980s and 1990s there were only 12 or 14 licenses. Now they just seem to be passing them out like candy on Halloween."
The next steps are to present the fee changes to City Council before implementing them by the beginning of January.