VALDOSTA -- County commissioners will hear public input Thursday evening on the proposed increase of liquor license fees for county businesses.

The proposal will go before the commission on Dec. 13 for formal adoption.

Commissioners tabled the item during their Nov. 15 meeting due to voiced opposition from small business owners who said the fees would force them to close.

Chairman Rod Casey said commissioners would take extra time to hear individual concerns.

Letters from the county's finance department were mailed to county business owners, notifying them of the proposed increase.

Current county fees are $150 for beer and wine; $750 for package sales; and $1,500 for pouring.

New fees would cost businesses $500 for package sales of beer and $675 for on-premise beer sales. Wine sales would be charged separately for the same amount.

Businesses selling liquor off premises would be charged $1,075, and on-premise sales would cost $3,550.

Liquor, beer and wine on-premise fees would be $4,550.

The City of Valdosta adopted a similar ordinance in 2004, that charged the same amounts, with city businesses serving beer, wine and liquor paying $4,500.

The purpose of increased fees is to bring Lowndes County more aligned with similar governments.

County Manager Joe Pritchard said the meeting will allow business owners the opportunity to voice concerns.

Commissioners will hear input Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Administration Building, 325 W. Savannah Ave.

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