Should Liquor Licenses Be Cheaper?

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  MANCHESTER – Township officials discussed the price of liquor licenses in town because there are several that are not being used.

  During a recent Township Council meeting, Business Administrator Brandon Umba responded to a resident’s question about the sale of liquor licenses and the recommendation that the township increase the cost for them.

  Umba said that Manchester has six open consumption licenses currently available for purchase, but “no one is looking to purchase them. We may make it a little lower.”

  One business hasn’t used its consumption license in some time and it was discussed whether the township should transfer it back to the municipality. Umba said, “we’ll be waiting until the beginning of the new year to review that. It would cost us to litigate that and we are still collecting a fee from them.

  “Council would have to take legal action. Right now, they are paying the $2,500 every year. I think for us to litigate for that license would probably be a detriment to the township. My recommendation is to collect the money,” Umba said. “We had one bidder who came in for a consumption license and they were unsuccessful because their bid was incompliant. With liquor licenses the law requires that the business must be operational within two years. If after that time the law says the license has to go back to the town. That is why you really don’t see a lot of people putting in for a liquor license unless they have a property they can convert from a restaurant.

  “We are working with people when they come in and help them get prepared for their compliance. We’ll be advertising that license again next year,” Umba added.

  When asked about the current price figure for Manchester’s licenses in comparison to other municipalities, Umba said, “it is on par for what other towns get. We might make it a little lower to be competitive. The Alcohol Beverage Commission (ABC) has a list of questions for the licensee before a license can be issued,” he added.
  In other news, Councilman James Vaccaro requested updates on several motions he’s been pursuing. He is looking for “a summary report pertaining to our progress and scheduled time frame and implementation of our 10-year energy plan applicable to Manchester Township and state and federal grants that would expand, enhance and subsidize at least a portion of our energy plan.”

  He also called for a brief status report “reflecting on a short term and long-term readiness to meet the responsible commitment to our residents and users of electric vehicles.”

  Vaccaro also repeated the need for the township to attract a hospital or health care complex/wellness facility to be housed in Manchester Township.

  The Township Council finalized the last land sales of the year: 112 Champlain Street went for the minimum bid of $85,000, 1408 Sixth Avenue sold for $5,213 and 1410 Sixth Avenue sold for the same amount.

  Umba said there would be no other land sale until April of 2023.

  The governing body opened the meeting by recognizing the Friends of the Manchester Library with a proclamation.

  “We’ve done this for a few years now. We are recognizing Friends of the Library Week,” Mayor Robert Hudak said as he called up a representative from the Friends group of the branch library of the Ocean County Library.

  The proclamation notes that in 2005 the American Library Association has promoted Friends of the Library Week to bring awareness to the dedication of Friends groups across the nation. “They promote libraries across the country, focusing on the third week of October each year. The week allows for bringing great focus to such groups and membership opportunities, their goals, projects and more.”

  Library Friends groups help local libraries in a variety of ways. As a volunteer organization they promote library programs and raise money for library needs. “They also help keep the public informed about library events. They provide a lasting impact on their local libraries and the entire community,” the mayor read in his proclamation.

  Mayor Hudak added, “I feel you do a great job. My kids love the library and it’s not only about reading books it is also about using the many resources there. I know many of our seniors use those resources as well so it is a very important part of our community. Thank you for all you do.”