Forest Park businesses selling gasoline and tobacco products will have to dig a little deeper when it comes time to renew their business licenses this month, following action taken by the village council, March 26.

The council unanimously voted to increase the fee for tobacco dealers from $200 to $300 and to increase the fee for gas station owners from $50 to $100 per tank containing 1,000 or fewer gallons.

Village Administrator Tim Gillian explained that the fee increases are designed to generate additional revenue for the village, noting that these particular fees have not been increased in over 15 years. The additional revenue generated is not expected to have a major impact on the village budget. The gas station fee increase is expected to add $8,600 to the village coffers and the tobacco fee increase would add $2,000, a small percentage of the $1.5 million business licenses and permits line item in the village budget.

The original version of the proposed ordinance changing the two fees caused some confusion at the March 26 village council meeting. Commissioner Tom Mannix questioned the references in the proposed ordinance to tobacco vending machines, asking how many of such machines are in Forest Park businesses.

After Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz informed the village council that no stickers were issued for cigarette machines in 2017, Village Attorney Nick Peppers was called upon to suggest rewording the proposed ordinance to eliminate reference to vending machines.

Mannix later suggested the tobacco dealer fee be increased annually as a deterrent to people smoking cigarettes, which he considers to be a health hazard, especially for young people. 

All businesses are required to obtain a license with businesses selling gasoline, tobacco and liquor required to obtain additional licenses, according to Gillian.

He also said the village typically issues 20 tobacco licenses and gasoline licenses to six stations that own tanks with a combined capacity of 172,000 gallons.

All business licenses expire on April 30 and must be renewed before May 1. The changes approved March 26 take effect immediately.  

This story has been corrected to reflect that no stickers had been issued in 2017 for cigarette machines in the village of Forest Park.