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Minneapolis defers action on increased business license fees

City staff had recommended a 3 percent increase in the annual charges.

Action on a proposal to raise Minneapolis business license fees has been delayed to allow city staff to assemble cost and revenue data.

License fees are required for everything from parking lots to restaurants to hotels and day-care centers.

The proposed 3 percent increase would raise the current $10,596 cost of an on-sale Class A liquor license to $10,914 next year. That license is the most costly in the city.

The fee for a pet shop would increase from $151 to $155.

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“I don’t think we should be doing business as usual in this economy,” said Council Member Gary Schiff, who asked why the cost and revenue figures were not available, as they have been in years past.

The proposed increase is based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers, which increased by 3 percent, and the Municipal Cost Index, which increased 4.2 percent.

Florence Littman told members of the City Council’s Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee Monday that she doesn’t own a business but frequents ones along University Avenue Southeast. She thinks those folks need a break during the light rail construction, which has torn up the street and sidewalks.

“You go to these restaurants and there’s nobody there because you can’t get there,” said Littman. “These people have really been hit.”

The committee voted Monday to delay a decision until cost and revenue figures are available next week.

Asian carp action

When the Army Corp of Engineers announced plans to cut back from 24-hour operation of the locks and dams on the Mississippi River, someone somewhere figured out that this would slow the Asian carp’s swim north.

There are three locks and dams in Minneapolis, two at St. Anthony Falls and one across from the Ford Plant. Currently, they are always open during the shipping season. Under the new plan, they would close between 2 and 7 a.m.

The partial river barricade is “one of the main tools we can use to limit carp advancement,” said Pierre Willette of the city coordinator’s staff.

“It seems to me this doesn’t address a lot of issues,” said Council Member Diane Hofstede, who noted that the impact on the carp migration didn’t get much discussion in the plan to close the locks and dams.

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Staff conceded that closing the locks and dams for five hours a day is only one step forward in addressing the carp problem.

“Now is the window of time for us to take some action,” said Peter Wagenius of Mayor R.T. Rybak’s staff, who urged council members to “exercise what influence we have.”

The committee voted in favor of an agreement supporting the decreased hours.