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Increased fees for tobacco sales approved by council

Residents of Lloydminster who purchase tobacco products may notice a price change next year.

The possible change could be the result of the rules laid down in the newly-passed Business License Bylaw, which was approved by Lloydminster City Council on the afternoon of June 27.

The bylaw outlines how businesses in Lloydminster can gain approval to operate in the community. Part of the legislation also contained changes for how tobacco can be sold in the city, which will see retailers having to pay more in their license renewals to be able to sell the product.

In addition, the changes stipulate that a tobacco retailer must carry on their business from a commercial premise, and not a mobile business unit or a residential dwelling, as well as meeting all federal, provincial, and municipal legislation, with a new internal grant derived from funds collected under the new fees imposed on tobacco retailers.

Prior to the passing of the bylaw, the municipal administration had put out a call for feedback from the public, which included a statement on the motivations behind the fees.

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“It has become more apparent that as a society, that there is a growing concern relating to the negative health impacts of tobacco,” read the statement from the City, at the time.

“In order to encourage a tobacco-free society and in the support of the movement in which the Tobacco Coalition strives for, we will be imposing an additional fee for tobacco retailers. It is proposed that this additional fee be used to support a new internal grant, the Lloydminster Tobacco Reduction Grant (LTRG).”

The call for feedback received a total of nine responses, received by the municipal administration. Three of the respondents were not in favour of the changes, with six writing in support of the move. The responses were given to council during their meeting as information-only.

With the bylaw now passed, a fee of $750 will be charged to tobacco retailers, and a further charge of $350 will be applied to those wishing to sell flavoured tobacco products. Under the bylaw, the term “Tobacco Retailer” will apply to any business selling cigars, cigarettes, tobacco, snuff, pipes, hookahs, or electronic cigarettes. In total, the possible fee totals $1100, which would make the Lloydminster fees the highest in the country.

According to Lisa Buchan, the Director, Finance & Information Services, the new fees will come into effect by 2017, when retailers go to renew their business licenses.

“The fee will be incorporated into our business license fee schedule, and I can’t really speak to how the vendors would recuperate those costs,” said Buchan.

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