What Was Said in the Municipal Council… Councilors Approve Reduction in Liquor License Price

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The ordinary session of the municipal council on Monday, June 16 included a number of area residents who complained to the councilors about the “disproportionate” prices of liquor licenses.

Some 50 license holders from the canton formed a group at the entrance to the council chamber in Nicoya, requesting that the council members reduce the quarterly municipal fees they pay. They stated that, in the majority of cases, the mayor’s office is charging the maximum allowed by law, which can reach up to ₡800,000 ($1600).

The Committee of Representatives of Liquor License Holders presented a document that detailed repeated threats by the municipal license department to close businesses for having not paid the fees. The threats were made despite the fact that appeals made by the license holders remain under review in the Constitutional Court.

Domingo Arias, a resident of Samara and one of the representatives of the license holders, asked the councilors why there is still not a municipal set of rules that regulate the sale of alcoholic beverages that incorporates sales volume and the needs of every business and license holder, despite the fact that that municipalities have been able to establish them for two years.

Arias referred to the cases of the municipalities of Hojanche and Nandayure, which have listened to the license holders’ complaints in the canton and currently charge ₡47,000 ($94) per quarter. Rodolfo Orozco, a councilor for the National Liberation Party (PLN – Partido Liberacion Nacional), expressed his stance in favor of the license holders and clarified that the rules have not been established because the same councilors who oppose the sale of alcohol during Easter Week also oppose that initiative.

As such, Carlos Medina, a councilor for the Citizen Action Party (PAC – Partido Accion Ciudadana), proposed a moratorium in favor of the license holders in which they would not be charged the owed amounts. However, Mayor Marco Jimenez explained that such an amnesty could only be granted by the Legislative Assembly and that it is not within the capacity of the municipal administration.

Juan Edwin Yockchen, a councilor for the Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC – Partido Unidad Social Cristiana),took the floor next, saying that he had presented a bill to establish those regulations, though, “The previous president of this council [Ana Lizeth Espinoza] didn’t want to approve it.”

Councilor Ana Lizeth Espinzoa, a PLN councilor, responded, saying that Yockchen never wanted to participate in any of the municipal committees in charge of the project.

Finally, Juan Luis Aguirre, a councilor for the Libertarian Movement (PML – Partido Movimiento Libertario), submitted the document presented by the license holders for a vote, which was approved by the council.

Now license holders will be charged ₡47,000 ($94) quarterly. In addition, a mixed commission, made up of members of the council and license holders, will be created.


Garza Residents Against Relocations

Residents of Garza were also present for the session and expressed their opposition to the relocation, carried out by the mayor’s office, of a family who lived close to the ocean.

Armando Duarte, a Garza resident, expressed his dissatisfaction, as the municipality relocated him and his family from their ocean-front home. In addition, Duarte said that he never received notification from the municipality addressed to him, and he asked the council members for help as he now has nothing.

Marco Jimenez explained that Orlando Vasquez, another Garza resident who is requesting a concession, was notified, as well as Duarte’s girlfriend. He said that, “It is not true that he [Duarte] has lived there his whole life. That wasn’t a home; there were small ranchos built by Mr. Duarte in the last few months. They were built illegally without any permits.” As such, the council approved helping Duarte through the Institute for Social Assistance (IMAS –InstitutoMixto de Ayuda Social), so that an investigation of his situation can be completed.