VINELAND — A final decision on how to handle a controversial new liquor license reportedly created at the request of a supermarket developer will be left up to the next city government administration.
City Council on Tuesday voted 4-0 to create a new retail liquor license.
However, the legislation will not become law until 20 days after it is signed by Mayor Robert Romano. That means the law becomes effective in January, after the terms of Romano and current City Council members expire.
Local residents will go the polls Tuesday to vote in mayoral and City Council runoff elections. Romano and former City Councilman Ruben Bermudez are running for mayor. Each has a slate of five City Council candidates. Romano’s slate garnered the top five positions during the initial voting Nov. 6.
City Solicitor Alfred Verderose said current City Council members have agreed to let the new administration decide what will happen with the license.
That will include setting a base bid price for the license, Verderose said. The current base bid is $300,000, a figure that Verderose said is unlikely to be reduced.
The new administration will also set the terms for the sale of the license, Verderose said.
The administration can sell the license through a sealed bid process, he said. In that process, entities submit a sealed bid for the license, with the city awarding the license to the entity that submitted the highest bid.
Another way would be to put the license to public action, Verderose said. That would allow different entities to bid against each other, with the license going to the entity that outlasts other bidders, he said.
Verderose said earlier that the public auction could result in a larger purchase price than the sealed bid process. Current City Council members favor the public auction.
Bottino ShopRite is building a $17 million supermarket on West Landis Avenue across the super Walmart. Supermarket plans include a retail liquor outlet.
City officials said earlier that Bottino ShopRite would not build the new supermarket if creation of the new liquor license was not included in the development agreement. Officials with Bottino ShopRite have not commented.
The creation of that license has angered some local liquor license holders. They contend they could loose significant business if Bottino ShopRite eventually gets the new liquor license. They also contend that Bottino ShopRite should get a liquor license by buying an existing liquor license.
City Council President Peter Coccaro said Bottino ShopRite tried to find an existing liquor license that was for sale.
“There are none out there,” he said.
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