Selectmen recently voted to hike fees for some licenses in town by 10 percent, after a volley of back and forth arguments over several meetings, for and against greater increases.
Board members tossed around a variety of scenarios that proposed different increases for different kinds of licenses, but finally decided an across the board even increase for alcohol licenses would be fair and easily understood.
Nearby communities, they reasoned, generally charge more than Norton, but the town wants to retain as many businesses as possible, so holding back on big increases could encourage restaurants and package stores to come into town, or to stay.
Last week, the board voted on the final version of the fee table. The highest price license, an all-alcohol license for a restaurant, will increase from $1,500 to $1,650. An all-alcohol license for a package store increased from $1,300 to $1,430, and wine and malt licenses for package stores increased from $750 to $825.
The board was more lenient with one-day licenses, keeping one-day all alcohol licenses and one-day wine and malt licenses at $50. These cover special one-time events like golf tournaments or picnics. The all-alcohol license for a club remains at $300.
Class I, II and III car licenses will increase 25 percent, from $75 to $100. Vehicles for hire like taxis and limos increase from $25 to $50.
Common victualer licenses stay at $25, as do licenses for fortune-tellers. Lodging houses remain $50.
Filing fees for liquor licenses and other licenses will now be $75 and $50, where nothing was charged to file before. Selectmen reasoned the hours required for processing the fees justify charging a nominal amount.
The charge for operating up to three video games in an establishment will increase from $20 to $25, as will the charge for three pinball machines or pool tables. More than three pinball or videogames is considered an arcade in Norton, and an arcade license will be $500, plus $20 each for a video or pinball machine, not to exceed 25 machines in any one location.