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To create a “cushion” if a price increase for a liquor license in Harford County is not approved by the state legislature during the next session, the liquor board plans to increase its administrative fees.

The Harford County Liquor Control Board met briefly Wednesday to approve the fee increases, which will go into effect Jan. 1.

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The new, higher fees approved by the board include $600 for new applications, transfers and change of officers, a $100 increase; $125 for supplement applications, a $25 increase; and $30 for a per diem or single day license, a $5 increase.

Liquor board members met several weeks ago with members of the Harford delegation to the Maryland General Assembly to ask lawmakers to submit a bill to increase the cost of liquor license in Harford County, which haven’t gone up in at least 15 years.

The board is seeking a 20 percent, across-the-board increase, then rounded up to the nearest $50 for all licenses.

The administrative fees are separate from the license fees and could be rolled back to the current rates, depending on what the legislature does in the spring, board member Butch Tilley said.

“This gives us an additional cushion in case they don’t do anything, which is a high probability,” Tilley said.

The liquor board also approved charging a late fee for licensees who submit an application for an outside event. There is no cost to submit an application, but the board will begin charging a $50 late fee to process them if they are submitted less than 15 days before the event.

If applications are submitted late, there isn’t enough time to present them to liquor board members at a meeting and have them approved, Tilley said.

“Because now they technically can’t have an event because they didn’t give us notice,” board chairwoman Sheryl Davis Kohl said. “So we’re giving them a mechanism to still have that last-minute event if they decide to.”

The increased administrative fees would likely generate less than $5,000 in revenue, depending how many applications are submitted, liquor board general manager Scott Baker told the board.

In fiscal year 2018-2019, which ended June 30, the board received 18 transfer applications, five new applications and 19 supplemental applications, “not a huge amount at all,” Baker said.

So far this fiscal year, six supplemental applications, 10 transfers and four new applications have been submitted, he said.

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