Northborough selectmen vote for reduction in business fees

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Selectmen also appoint Diversity & Inclusion Committee members

By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer 

Northborough – The Northborough Board of Selectmen met Nov. 9 and voted in favor of a one-time 50-percent reduction in alcoholic license fees, common victualer fees and entertainment license fees as a small way to acknowledge businesses’ struggle through the pandemic. 

Although the town has received funds through the CARES Act and under the coronavirus relief funds, Town Administrator John Coderre said that the town is prohibited from using any of those funds to provide business assistance programs or financial assistance to businesses.

Already struggling businesses, especially restaurants and food establishments, are being affected again with occupancy restrictions and the need to close by 9:30 p.m. 

Coderre proposed to the board to consider a one-time 50-percent reduction on Fiscal Year 21 annual license renewals for liquor pouring establishments. 

“This isn’t going to make or break any business,” he said. “It’s a show of support and I think it will be well received; but 50 percent is a partnership.” 

The town has 15 alcohol pouring licenses, which brings in about $36,000. The total reduction in those fees would be approximately $18,000. A reduction on the common victualer fees as well as entertainment licenses would be another $2,600. The reductions in license revenues for FY21 is about $20,000.

“It’s not going to make or break the town of Northborough any more than it is likely to make or break all the businesses that would be impacted,” said Coderre. “It is a show that we acknowledge the position they are in and this is something we can do.” 

The board voted unanimously in favor of the reduction.

The board also made appointments to the town’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Board members Leslie Rutan and Tim Kaelin headed the interview subcommittee and screened 18 applicants for the newly formed committee.

“Everybody we interviewed was wonderful,” said Rutan. “It’s unfortunate that we can only take five people out of the 18, and it was very difficult.”

The five residents appointed were Lashika Holland, Diedra Wrighting, Mariam Ibrahimi, Hamilton Soriano and Mary Leach, each for a 12-month term.