Framingham Mayor Spicer Against Waiving Restaurant Fees

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FRAMINGHAM – Last month, City Councilors Phil Ottaviani Jr. and Michael Cannon suggested waiving renewal fees for restaurants, as they continue to struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.

Today, November 2, the Mayor’s spokesperson told City Councilors “Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer and CFO Mary Ellen Kelley do not recommend waiving licensing fees for 2021.”

The deadline to renew licenses is November 30. There are about 150 restaurants in the City who could renew for 2021.

“Restaurants are struggling,” said Ottaviani, earlier this month.

“Other communities are finding ways to eliminate these fees. I would hope that Framingham could do the same to support its small business,” said Cannon, who chair’s the City Council’s Economic Development subcommittee.

It’s a way to show that the City of Framingham is supportive of restaurants during these trying times, said the two City Councilors earlier this month.

The City of Framingham’s License Commission will meet tonight to consider waiving the fees.

“Based on the revenue for 2020, fees could total approximately $224,000,” said The Mayor & The CFO to Councilors.

The City of Framingham’s budget is more than $300 million.

Last year the fees were roughly $189,000, according to the Framingham License Commission meeting earlier this month.

“If the City were to forgo charging the fees, the burden of paying entirely for license compliance, inspections, state filings, and administrative functions required by the state would be shifted to the Framingham taxpayer,” wrote the Spicer administration to City Councilors and the chair of the Framingham License Commision Adam Barnosky.

The City of Chelsea, which is also a high-risk COVID community, has agreed to a 50% reduction of renewal fees.

“We need to do anything we can to help these restaurant in these trying times,” said Councilor Ottaviani. “We need to work together to waive these fees.”

“Whenever we have an opportunity to waive a fee, reduce a cost, us help a business, I hope that we will find a way to do that,” said Councilor Cannon, earlier this month.

“Businesses and residents have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Framingham works to help both. The City has set up a COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Grant program to assist in stabilizing existing small businesses within Framingham that have had significant business disruption due to the impact of the pandemic,” wrote the Spicer administration today, November 2.

Framingham’s small businesses are encouraged to apply. Send an email to communitydevelopment@framinghamma.gov for more information.

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The city’s Licensing Coordinator said earlier this month the City of Framingham was working this year to have renewals online, she said that process was going to start next week. She told the Commissioner the goal is to reduce the number of people entering City Hall (Memorial Building) during the pandemic, and to have the money go directly into the City’s accounts instead of checks to the City.

“If all goes well wont even be checks. It will be money going directly into the city’s accounts,” she said.

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