Region, Nicoya

Nicoya Municipality Charges 50% Less for Liquor Licenses

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The Municipality of Nicoya is charging the canton’s liquor license owners half of the established quarterly price.

The municipal decision was made as a result of the resolution by the Constitutional Court on August 28, 2013, in which several rules of the Liquor Law were eliminated, as they had been found unconstitutional.

The judges considered the mechanism for determining prices for the quarterly charges for licenses to be excessive. In addition, they found it to be contrary to the right of equality due to giving one license per 300 habitants as a maximum, among other changes.

Juan Edwin Yockchen Mora, a municipal councilor, said that the reduction has already been made and currently the highest quarterly license payments have been reduced by 50%.

In addition, the verdict implies that each municipality can set a minimum limit according to the potential use for each business, judging by its location, size and type of infrastructure.

“The more volume an establishment that sells liquor buys, the higher the amount they will pay for their license [quarterly],” explained Yockchen.

Nevertheless, the councilor said he thinks that the payment criteria is weak and creates inequality. “I particularly have my doubts with regard to this method of determination, because for the businessperson it’s very easy to manipulate the purchase amounts because they can not only buy it wholesale but, from a group of 20 invoices, only report 10 invoices, and how would the municipality find out?”

The councilor believes that one solution would be if the same license office at the municipality had inspectors that could control the amount of sales.

For his part, Cristian Soto, the official in charge of the municipal licensing office, said that he wouldn’t comment on the subject and that those who want to know what they have to pay should personally go to the license office.

Regarding the sale and transfer of liquor licenses, the Constitutional Court also specified that rights now expire after two years of validity.

Yockchen said that the Municipal Council is sending suggestions and recommendations to the Legislative Assembly so that the government will allow them to establish a permanent method for each municipality to set its own criteria for measuring and fees. “Here in Nicoya we know which bars sell the most but that’s not the case at the Legislative Assembly. By using scientific criteria, we can begin to charge those establishments fairly according to their type and volume.”