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Local

Seeing the bigger picture: City looks for way to ease liquor license cost for Dixon art center

Councilman says lowering fee for nonprofit would help city, too

DIXON – The city is trying to find a way for The Next Picture Show to continue serving alcohol at events without the burden of a quadrupled license fee.

The Next Picture Show falls under the city's Class I liquor license category, which allows beer and wine without requiring it to be a specific type of business, like those reserved for bars, restaurants or grocery stores.

There are four licenses in the class, and all except for the nonprofit fine arts center at 113 W. First St. are held by video gambling parlors.

The city upped the fee in March from $305 to $1,455 and $485 to $1,645 in the category, depending on whether the establishment serves liquor on Sundays, which is a sizable increase for The Next Picture Show.

The organization doesn't profit from having liquor at the different events, and lumping it in with the businesses that do profit is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, Executive Director Mike Glenn told the City Council on Monday.

The council tried to remedy the issue in October by increasing its number of temporary liquor licenses a nonprofit could use in a year from one to 14 and decreasing the price from $50 to $5 per event.

The problem is that The Next Picture Show wants to host more than 14 events.

"Our solution is no longer a solution," Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said.

Margaret Tyne, a member of The Next Picture Show board, asked the council to consider making a new license category for nonprofits.

"It doesn't seem like we fall into any of the other categories," she said.

The city has looked at a few different options, like reimbursing the organization for the liquor license through a donation, but the city attorney plans to research the possibility of creating a nonprofit license, Arellano said.

"The Next Picture Show is one of the most unique cases in town, and they don't profit from liquor," he said.

The organization also doesn't compete with other businesses that sell alcohol and operates at different hours, said Councilman Ryan Marshall, who owns The Stables bar downtown.

"I look at the Next Picture Show as a benefit to us," Marshall said.

NEXT MEETING

The City Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at City Hall, 121 W. Second St.

Go to discoverdixon.org or call City Hall at 815-288-1485 for an agenda or more information.

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