Brainerd to halve liquor license fees for rest of the year

Restaurants and bars that remain closed due to the pandemic will not have to pay liquor license fees until they open.

Brainerd council WebEx
Brainerd City Council and staff members discuss matters during a meeting Monday, June 1, via WebEx. Screenshot by Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

Brainerd bars and restaurants that reopen their doors will pay 50% of their liquor license fees for the next nine months.

In addition, establishments that remain closed due to restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic will not be charged liquor license fees, city council members decided during their meeting Monday, June 1.

In April the council agreed to waive liquor license fees from March to May, as bars and restaurants were not able to be open for much of that time. As liquor licenses run from July 1-June 30, instead of refunding businesses for the previous cycle’s fees already paid, the city applied three months of credit to the July 2020 renewal fee. During Monday’s meeting, council members agreed to reduce fees for the remaining nine months of the cycle by 50%. Finance Director Connie Hillman said this move follows precedent set by the Crow Wing County Board, which previously waived four months’ worth of county liquor license fees and last week agreed to reduce the remaining months by 50%. County Attorney Don Ryan, Hillman said, encouraged other cities in the county to follow suit.

Council member Dave Pritschet also suggested continuing to waive liquor license fees for establishments that remain closed, as Gov. Tim Walz’s most recent executive order pertaining to bars and restaurants allowed them to open only for outdoor service of no more than 50 people at a time.

“My looking at this is, there might be some businesses that aren’t sure if they can hold off and aren’t sure what the governor is going to do, and having to pay all those fees upfront might cause them to close and never open,” Pritschet said. “Because if they pay those fees now and they don’t open, that could be the final nail in their coffin.”


The rest of the council unanimously agreed.

In other business Monday, the council:

Accepted the resignation of Police Officer Dalton Langer. Police Chief Corky McQuiston said he expects to ratify the hiring of a new officer at the next council meeting June 15. He said the department is also working on an officer eligibility to list to fill other vacancies.

Authorized the sale of a retired police squad car that was replaced earlier this year.

Authorized the Brainerd Fire Department to apply for a grant from the Firehouse Sub Public Safety Foundation for $21,934 to purchase new auto extrication equipment.

Named Brandon Tuil as Community Member of the Month for his volunteer work of picking up trash along Buffalo Hills Trail in early May. Mayor Dave Badeaux said the award is about recognizing residents in the community for doing the little things and doing them because they think it’s the right thing to do.

Appointed three community members to the Region Five Children’s Museum Task Force, which will work to develop a master plan for the proposed children’s museum at Lum Park. The three community members are Cynthia Askerooth-Olson, Mandy Dens and Shane Riffle.

Approved an ordinance amendment annexing a vacant parcel of land immediately adjacent to property owned by Robert and Andrea Marohn on the 11000 block of Easy Street to bring the parcel into city limits and formally connect it to the property where their home sits. No one spoke at the public hearing.


Adopted an ordinance amendment mandating non-commercial speech signs to be placed at least 15 feet away from the curb for easier compliance, as these signs are not allowed in public rights of way. No one spoke at the public hearing.

Authorized staff to solicit bids for a project to add the final lift of asphalt surfacing on Old Stonebridge Trail. No one spoke at the improvement hearing.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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