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Local News

Batavia aldermen back liquor tax for Dec. 7 vote

BATAVIA – The majority of Batavia aldermen on Wednesday were in a favor of introducing a 2 percent liquor tax in the city.

Batavia aldermen at their Committee of the Whole meeting voted, 9-1, to recommend the proposed liquor tax for approval to the Batavia City Council. Ward 4 Alderman Susan Stark voted against the motion.

Under the proposal, anyone required to retain a liquor license in Batavia would be subject to a 2 percent tax effective Feb. 1. 

City officials recommended the liquor tax as a new revenue source for the proposed $105 million 2016 city budget. The tax could raise an estimated $300,000, city officials said.

Pal Joey’s owner John Hamel on Wednesday said having to pay the tax will cost him an additional $6,000 a year. 

“For a business like mine, it’s hard to pass this increase to customers,” Hamel said at the meeting.

The aldermen on Nov. 24 voted, 12-2, to table the issue so they could further consider the tax.

Most of them decided it was an opportunity they should implement.

Ward 2 Alderman Marty Callahan said he was sympathetic to Hamel. Callahan said he would not be opposed to reconsidering the liquor tax in a year, but currently was in favor of it.

“We’re trying to do this to avoid a property tax increase,” he said.

Aldermen Carl Fischer of Ward 1, Dan Chanzit of Ward 3, Mike Russotto of Ward 6 and Drew McFadden of Ward 7 were absent from Wednesday’s meeting.

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